When Lynn and I found out we were having our first child, we were overjoyed, as most soon-to-be new parents are. But as those nine months elapsed, we started to think about the reality of the adventure we were about to embark on: Parenthood.
To that point in my life 'dad' was my father, and my father-in-law. And although I knew I wanted to be a father myself, I rarely thought about the real-life implications of actually being a father.
It was now my job to shape a human. Not a cat, which was the only job on my parenting resume to that point, but a real, breathing human whose future is going to be largely decided by my direct impact in his early years.
Talk about pressure.
Now add to that the fact that I have zero experience for this job, there are no do-overs, and decisions made now WILL have ripple effects well into the future. I'm the co-founder and CEO of a new human start-up, and I've never even held as much as an internship or taken a single course on how to do the job effectively.
Now, Take a Breath
The good news is we had time. Not an infinite amount of time, but far more than my initial panic episode led me to believe. The initial shock of baby Andrew entering our lives certainly wasn't as dramatic as anticipated.
Babies are actually a lot like cats. They sleep a lot. Sometimes on you. And then they eat, poop and fall back asleep. There's a lot of truth to the first three months of life being the 'fourth trimester'. Raising an infant, while absolutely exhausting at times, is pretty straight forward.
It's not always going to be that way, though. At some point, you're going to have to mold that ball of skin and bones into a person, and I look at that first year or so as nature's way of giving you a head start to plan your attack. For us, we really asked ourselves the very question that leads this post: What does it mean to be a good human?
Not just a good person, but a good human. They may sound the same, but there most certainly is a difference. Being a good person is important, and it's actually a prerequisite to being a good human. But the key is in the word 'person'. If you look up the definition, this is what you get:
per·son (ˈpərs(ə)n/), noun: 1. a human being regarded as an individual.
The word 'person' is very much describing a single individual. Being good in your own, unique singularity is important, but it doesn't immediately mean you're going to spread that good far and wide amongst individuals outside of yourself.
That's where being a human comes in. Calling yourself a human creates a distinct tie that binds all members our our species. Our core biology is the one thing that transcends gender, race, religion, sexuality, ideology, and any other attribute that makes someone a person.
If you focus on being a good human, it means that you're looking for ways to make all life better. Not just for yourself, and not just for your community. Not only for your country, and not only for your continent. But better for every beating heart that exists on this chunk of rock hurtling through space.
WOAH. Ok, that got a little deep, so I'll bring it back to reality. What do we do to help our children be the best humans that they can be? Is there a right way? What lessons are important to teach them at what age level?
Truth is, I have no clue. I've never done this before.
While that's still a little scary, as parents, we have a goal to strive for now. Something to ground what we teach our children. Yes, we're making it all up as we go along, but the guidelines are there to make sure we never stray for your core mission statement: Let's make good humans.
We've created this site to chronicle our journey through parenthood. We're going to mess up along the way. All parents do; but our hope is that by putting everything in writing, we can create a resource for new parents that also want to raise their kids to be the best humans they can be.
Let's do this.