Post 400: little laughs of joy
Yes, I can’t believe I’m crossing the theshold of my 400th post, at exactly the same time as my daughter turns 11 months old. And again, I’m going to use this moment as a chance to post some cute baby
photos video, and try to make another forced analogy between my child and my blog.
As you can see in this laughter, my daughter’s personality is beginning to come out more and more every day. Her laughing is infectious, and she finds everything funny—falling backward on the bed, licks on the face from our dog Tesla, and everything associated with water. She loves trying new things now—eating all sorts of food, and the highlight of my day is often watching her take such pleasure in peas and carrots or beet soup (one of the least appetizing things I can think of).
And similarly, I think personality of my blog has emerged too. I don’t care for proofreading too much (though I should), and I do find myself having great fun writing this and taking pleasure in the strangest things, like redesigning syllabi, Calling the Guggenheim and culture hacking.
The other thing I’ve learned from watching my daughter is not to be afraid to simply fail. Right now, she’s still more or less completely immobile. Sure, other babies her age are crawling and even walking all over the place, but you put her on her belly, and she’s perfectly content to lift herself up on her knees and hands and wiggle back and forth like she might take off at any moment. Then she falls, wails a bit and tries again. Every parent knows this is an essential part of learning. This makes me wonder why we try to protect our kids from this later in life. Why do we want everything to be polished and only share our best and final products with the world? Aren’t we implicitly helping students to devalue the process by doing this, and depriving them of the feedback and support they might get from the world around them by sharing their first drafts and earliest rehearsals? And doesn’t this ultimately prevent them from achieving far more beautiful and and profound work through open collaboration?
This is something I’ve certainly found to be true in the last 100 posts of this blog, as I’ve decided to embrace the idea of sharing freely my process of learning, from the roughest drafts of a computational modeling assignment, to the earliest videos of my class discussions. And here’s what I’ve discovered—the feedback I get by letting people in to see these earliest moments of creation have made the product so much better than I could have imagined. And I think the respect I’ve gained from doing this vastly outweighs any awe I might have received from simply tossing out fully formed ideas that showed no influence from others and are mere shadows of what I was able to do because the feedback I got from you. So that’s my take away going forward—share early and openly. Get feedback, improve, knowing nothing is ever finished. I defy you to find a better way to do this than simply writing about what you love doing in a blog.