June 16, 2005

Five technology lessons I learned from my Father

This post was last updated on 10 months ago at 10 months ago

With Father’s Day coming on Sunday, I was thinking about what to get my Dad. He’s a 73 year old widower who is a typically hard to buy for kind of guy. I usually get him a book. Quick story: A few years ago I was looking for a book and remembered a book called Fathers and Sons & Golf. Thinking this was a perfect book, I hunted around several sites and finally located a copy at a used book store halfway across the country. I ordered it online and had it delivered right to his door. I was waited selfishly for the obligatory thank you but never got it. Finally I asked if he enjoyed the book. He said, “Yea, but you got me the same book last year!”

Okay, so I’m not that bright and never claimed to be. This year, I’ll likely get him something to support him in his technological pursuits. His immersion into digital photography, general computing and geocaching keeps his mind and body active. He’s got all the golf shirts and ties he’ll ever need. But besides the gift, here are technology lessons I learned from my Dad:

  1. commitment and loyalty…Dad’s long term commitments to his friends, faith and church have stayed with me and is something I’ve tried to pass on to my kids. With technology you need a strong commitment to persevere through frustration and challenges. Anyone working with technology is well aware it doesn’t always go as planned.
  2. openness to new ideas and viewpoints…My Dad will try almost anything. A few years ago he bought a 4×4 and went racing up and down the beaches in Corpus Christi and also went parasailing. His new found joy of technology makes him somewhat of an expert among his peers. I’ve been able to learn more in the past five years than I could have imagined. Finding new ways to help students and teachers is what makes my job so exciting.
  3. Make time for fun…As hard a worker as he is, he makes sure it’s mixed with fun. As I help teachers find new technology I always encourage them to find a way to use it in their personal lives and have fun with it. Some of my best workshops have included some outrageous videos from teachers who felt the freedom to have fun. I’ve come to discover that learning is fun.
  4. Listen and ask questions…People enjoy his company because he listens and shows genuine interest in people. I’m especially thankful for the way RSS has opened my eyes to many new ideas and viewpoints. Not that I agree with everyone but I like the conversation. I read way more than I write and I hope I listen way more than I talk. I need to work on that one.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously… My Dad often starts his phone conversation with, “you know what dumb thing I did today?” Being able to laugh at yourself shows humility and vulnerability. It also makes you more approachable. Teachers and students are put at ease when you let them know you don’t have all the answers.

The nice thing is, I’m still learning. I’m sure Dad never knew all the things he taught me about technology.

Thanks Dad. Happy Father’s Day.