It’s ‘watching week’ for swimming at A’s school this week, so today I sat in on her regular weekly swimming lesson. Seeing her bouncing around in the water in total comfort and just swimming the widths as directed by her teacher was amazing.
I couldn’t help thinking of just two years ago when I had to take her for individual lessons because her water confidence was non-existent. One particular day sticks in my mind when she got the wobbles in the changing room and started to cry at the thought of the lesson and I think I actually used the words, “You’re going for your swimming lesson so just deal with it.” Tough love, eh? Mind you, once she started the lesson, she was absolutely fine.
That’s the thing about being a dad – just got to give the push at the right time. I’m guilty of pushing too much, I think, which I never imagined I would be. I used to think that I would be the ‘good cop’ and be the lenient parent with P doing the harsh discipline but it turns out in reality that I’m actually fairly harsh. Well, not harsh – A and I have a very loving relationship – but I’m the one who will tend to dish out punishment far more quickly if there’s any bad behaviour. Turn that into a more positive statement: I have higher expectations of behaviour and, well, everything.
A told me the other day that she preferred to do her violin practice with P rather than me because P dishes out the praise more easily whereas I make A do things again and again until they’re perfect. I don’t actually see anything wrong with that and between P and me, I think we have a good balance. We’re definitely a couple whose personalities complement each other rather than match, and I think A benefits from that.
Did a bit of old school shopping today when I popped into the HMV in Guildford. I didn’t really want anything but I guess I popped in for nostalgic reasons (and partly through surprise that HMV was still trading). As I browsed the CDs and DVDs, it really struck me how much I just saw the discs as a vehicle for getting the music or film onto a computer and, actually, I’d rather just directly download whatever I wanted without having the hassle of deciding where to store a physical artefact.
And then I wandered over to the books. I was looking for books to read while on holiday, and in a slightly rational moment, I decided not to buy a large hardback book because it would take up too much space in the luggage. But instead of taking that to its logical conclusion and buying digital books to load up on the iPad, I decided that buying three paperbacks was the thing to do.
OK, I’m being a little bit extreme – unlike the CDs and DVDs, there’s still often a large price advantage enjoyed by physical books compared to their digital versions, and I’ll worry less about leaving a book rather than an iPad on the sun lounger while I go for cooling dip in the pool – but I still have an attachment to the printed word that I never had with CDs and DVDs. I guess because CDs and DVDs are just digital storage devices in the same way as any other storage medium.
Post title lyric taken from The Bees – These are the Ghosts
This week I finally got round to playing with the Radian time-lapse and panning widget thing that I backed on Kickstarter. It works just as I expect but as with many of these kinds of toys, they just enable creativity rather than create it. I made my first test video today and it’s so dull I’m not even going to bother embedding it or linking to it. But I got the first video out of the way and, for me, that’s quite a significant thing because I’m often paralysed by my own expectation that everything I do needs to be perfect. Sometimes it’s not that – sometimes it’s just laziness or an expectation that because I think I know how something works that the first time I do it, it’s going to be right.
That applies to many things in life and work. To take a currently pertinent example, the first draft of a story ((or a blog post, even, although I rarely draft these things, as if you haven’t noticed, and I just publish blog posts here without dwelling too much on it nowadays)) or some marketing copy or whatever is the hardest but what I’ve learned is not to get too precious about it and recognise that it’s something to react against in order to get to the finished product.
Thinking about this reminds me of the marshmallow challenge – the key point of which, from what I remember, is that trying and failing gets you more success than taking ages planning and theorising. The TED talk (as with most TED talks) is entertaining as well as informative.