Jan 3, 2024

Some kind of parent

I really can’t wait for little bambam to come out and play. It’s gonna be fun.

A friend described the upcoming sleepless nights as festival tiredness, not stress tiredness – you’re tired but loving it. So we’ve cleared our calendars of anything that will make regular sleepiness feel like a strain rather than a cozy, nappy day. I’m also inspired by some Norwegian and Congolese cultures, where dad straps on baby for the first year. So lots of back and bicep exercises for me.

But what about that phase of parenting between when kiddo can walk and when they move out?

We’re getting lots of different (conflicting) advice, and I’ve been thinking about different kinds of parents. It now seems obvious to me why the English word “kind” can mean a category, or a family or tribe, or an act of kindness. They’re connected. Kindness is how one treats one’s kind.

What kind of parent will I be, and what choice might I really have in this? Three bits of parenting advice resonate with me so far.

  1. One idea is that a parent’s role is to create a safe place for their child, not only in an economic or physical sense, but also emotionally. I’d like to help my child learn to trust their own capability, exploring this beautifully absurd world with equanimity and good humour, knowing they have a safety net.

  2. Children learn more from watching their parents than from doing what they’re told. In this context, how can we create an environment where we as parents feel safe to try things, okay to be vulnerable and ask for help? How can we lead by example? By embodying what we want to teach. I wonder if it’s possible to avoid “do as I say, not as I do” and veer towards “do as I try to do; try because you see me trying.”

  3. Another aspect of parenting that stood out to me is avoiding the trap of always providing answers. Instead, embracing phrases like “I don’t know, but let’s find out together” can encourage curiosity and consideration. By engaging in little experiments, considering our own lived experiences, conducting research or applying critical thinking together, can we foster a virtuous cycle of learning and discovery? I love the idea that my child, a little learning machine, could teach me so many things.

These three principles seem like a starting foundation. While reality might present different challenges (Most common advice: “you’ll see!”), these principles seem worth applying.

But I don’t know, let’s find out together.

What am I up to these days?

I’m a new parent, and prioritising my attention on our new rhythms as a family. I’m also having fun with slow creative pursuits: making a few apps, writing, etc.

Work-wise, I’m trekking along at a cozy pace, with a few non-exec, advisory roles for cryptography and microchip manufacturing programs.

In the past, I've designed peer-learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, and Kernel, careering from startups to humanitech and engineering. I also played a role in starting the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Contact me

Books & collected practices

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled
  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams