Unintended Lessons

Last week I drove my daughter on an east coast college tour (1500 miles, 8 colleges in 6 days.) We started in North Carolina eating BBQ and enjoying the Southern culture, went through Washington D.C checking out the shopping in Georgetown, saw beautiful horse country in Pennsylvania and upstate NY and headed down into the bays and coves of Connecticut filled with sailboats.

We had some great conversations in the car, but one stuck in my mind. It was something I never thought about, and when I first heard it I thought it was a terrible thing to have taught her. She said, “Dad, one of the great things you and Mom did was never tell us how much things cost.”

Whoa, when I first heard her say that, I thought she meant that we raised a spoiled kid who had and an unlimited sense of entitlement. For a minute it was a pretty depressing thought for a parent. But on further questioning what came out was a bit more interesting and rewarding.

She said, “Dad what I meant was that growing up we loved when we traveled. And I remember staying in everything from little motels to big hotels and resorts, from National parks in Alaska to trips in India. And as kids we never had any idea which was cheap and which was expensive. Now that I’m older, I’m starting to know what things cost.  And I realize you guys never told us we had to enjoy something any more or less because of the priceIt made me realize that the goal is not to get the most expensive things, but to go and get what you enjoy.”

It was a lesson we never intended to consciously teach.

It made me wonder how many other lessons we taught without knowing.

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3 Responses

  1. [...] Unintended Lessons « Steve Blank steveblank.com/2009/09/28/unintended-lessons – view page – cached + Customer Development Manifesto: The Path of Warriors and Winners (part 5) + Can You Trust Any VC’s Under 40? + Customer Development Manifesto: Market Type (part 4) + The Customer Development… (Read more)+ Customer Development Manifesto: The Path of Warriors and Winners (part 5) + Can You Trust Any VC’s Under 40? + Customer Development Manifesto: Market Type (part 4) + The Customer Development Manifesto: The Startup Death Spiral (part 3) + The Customer Development Manifesto: Reasons for the Revolution (part 2) + The Customer Development Manifesto: Reasons for the Revolution (part 1) + The Leading Cause of Startup Death – Part 1: The Product Development Diagram + The End of Innocence * Archives + September 2009 + August 2009 + July 2009 + June 2009 + May 2009 + April 2009 + March 2009 + February 2009 * Other Stuff + Steve Blank + Entrepreneurship o Books/Blogs for Startups + Secret History (Read less) — From the page [...]

  2. Parent seldom teach by telling – they teach by living. Kids take from parents patterns – what’s good and what’s bad, mostly. A replication matrix, so to say.

  3. All I wanted to say is how much I appreciate the family posts, for many reasons. Mostly that people infrequently talk about these kinds of things. And I’ll add that some people have have had better models than others and so it is nice to hear what worked from someone successful.

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