As we do this session I am in lockdown with four three year olds and two four and a half year olds, so times are interesting.
Dave Bacon is an amazing Dad of twin daughters and a son. He is so awesome! He’s an entrepreneur, avid skier and holds numerous board positions in altruistic and charity causes. He is a powerful, spiritual man of the arts.
Dave’s father, Ernst Bacon, was a famous composer who had 6 children, 11 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild. When Dave was born his dad was 45 years his mom’s senior. He was born a great uncle because his sister was already a grandma and of course his niece was older than him.
Dave shares some amazing tips on how he manages to improve his relationship with his children - like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for a fundraiser with his 10 year old.
But have a listen for yourself… enjoy it & please share if you like this one. Thank you.
As we do this session I am in lockdown with four three year olds and two four and a half year olds, so times are interesting.
Dave Bacon is an amazing man and Dad. Dave’s thoughts about Being a Dad are remarkable and his own story is remarkable as well - for instance each his dad, himself and his son were all born in a different century.
Dave and his wife Heather have 3 children who are 11 and 7 - he also has twins. Dave is the Founder & CEO of Better With Bacon, recognised as ‘Best Places to Work’, ‘Top 50 Colorado Companies to Watch’ and he has been on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies three times. He is an avid skier and very active and holds numerous board positions in altruistic and charity causes.
Dave’s father, Ernst Bacon, was a famous composer who had 6 children, 11 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild. Dave was born in 1973. At that time his dad was 45 years his mom’s senior. He was born a great uncle because his sister was already a grandma and of course his niece was older than him.
The session is really fun and beautiful. Dave opens up on his own upbringing and all the different perspectives and viewpoints he grew up with in such a unique family setting - think about a 85 trying to parent a ten year old. The overarching theme of his upbringing was always the arts and the beauty of all things.
We cover the amazing gift Covid has given us - which is having more time together as families and we talk about how we each handle COVID as families.
Dave shares some amazing tips on how he manages to improve his relationship with his children and I have to say he seems like an extraordinary human. For instance the one time his 8 year old had the idea of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for a fundraiser for a local school, two years later they did just that - and raised USD 103.000. A simple idea became something amazing.
Dave also shares how his kids and the family deal with death, how he tried to solidify his kids' impact on himself and how the arts and music impacts their lives on a daily basis.
The most powerful takeaways for me as a dad where:
Philipp Hartmann (host):
“Being Dad” on DADicated.com:
Philipp: Dave, I'm super stoked to have you. Thank you so much. I know that we've been trying to get together for over a year. The first time I reached out to the community in EO, I got overwhelmed with like, I don't know, a hundred responses. And I was like, okay, it's not possible. So I just didn't. I tried and I tried and eventually, I just left it. And so we picked up again, I think what four weeks ago, six weeks ago. And we started obviously and finally scheduled something.
And so today I'm stoked to have you here. I noticed you have a super interesting story. Yourself, but also your dad. So you make that intro. It's very, very interesting. And do you want to say a quick line about yourself and then we'll launch into being a dad?
Dave: Sure. Philipp and thank you. I'm super stoked as well. And I'm a sucker for alliteration. I'm humbled and honored to be here. I am. I've listened to your podcast and you have amazing guests and I've learned so much from them. Not just through listening to you, but through the years of following them.
So being a dad is the most important thing that I do. And it's the piece of my identity that I am most proud of. So yeah, you know, I think it starts with my dad. My father was born in 1898 and I was born in 1973. So. Some quick math will tell you that he was 75 years old when I was born, my mother was 30.
So there was a 45-year disparity between the two of them. They were both amazing musicians. My father was a world-class pianist, a famous composer in classical musical circles. Very, very accomplished, won many awards, Pulitzer Guggenheim. And my mother lived and continues to live a life full of music.
And she was incredibly courageous to marry a man 45 years her senior. And so I feel very lucky just to be here. I think we all should. We all won the sperm lottery. I happened to win an unusual lottery game there given my father was so old. I often joke that this was all songs, blue pill, pre blue, and somehow I, I came to this planet into this earth and better for it.
Philipp: Yeah. It's a crazy, crazy, crazy story. Your dad has what, five children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Right?
Dave: Yes. Well of course my father is no longer alive. He would be 122 if he was, just last month you know, his 30th year of passing came by. So he's been, he's been gone now for 30 years.
I was 16 when he passed away, but he had five other kids. And so my, my brothers and sisters are much, much older than me. And they're with different mothers, of course. So they're half-sisters, half brothers, but my oldest sister, Margo, just turned a 90 last summer. So you know, when I was born, she was a grandma.
So actually I, I was, I was born a great uncle. If that's not, you know, that's, that's challenging to figure out, but between my father and myself and my firstborn son the three of us were each born in a different century and that's unique, certainly. And so I find a lot of strength through that.
I feel very fortunate. Every day that I'm here. And I try to convey that sense of gratitude through, to all my children, just how lucky we are to be here and how much it's incumbent on us to seize every day, make the most of it.
Philipp: And especially in these times, I don't know about you. I'm in lockdown with all my children.
We have, I have twins and triplets three and four and a half. And then we also took in the nanny. I started quarantining the family two weeks early because I knew what was coming. My brother's in China. So. I saw him sitting through the first wave of it, so to speak. And I was like, okay, you know, Africa's not going to do much better.
We're going into quarantine. And so I moved into nanny as well with her child and Scotty, he is three. So now we have four, three-year-olds. And two, four, and a half-year-olds in lockdown.
Dave: Wow. You are an extraordinary human being. And so too is your wife. Yeah, these are, these are incredibly challenging times for us all.
And we're going through adjustments aplenty, through what is extraordinary adversity, and from a parenting standpoint, I'm finding it to be very, very challenging. My wife and I are, you know, it's like flying a plane and learning to fly at the same time. Much of what we've tried to do as parents for 11 years now is being tested in a big, big way.
And you know, with that comes a lot of reasons to be grateful for the time that we get to spend together in such close quarters, 24 7. But it, you know, we've had to change things considerably with our regimen and, keeping things fresh and keeping things optimistic and shielding them also from too much of the news or too much fear.
Philipp: You heard that, fear is the problem. Sorry. How many kids do you have again? You said 11 years.
Dave: Three kids and we have twins as well. So we share that in common. But my son is 11 and my two daughters are seven. They’re the twins.
Philipp: Yeah. I mean, you know what I mean? COVID we could cover it quickly, I guess. No, we move on because it's yeah it's, there's this auto-share pass and I think, you know. We are given an opportunity and I'm very lucky that our company is still running and we still have business all around me in South Africa, friendly entrepreneurs and many, and I, your chapter going down hard because tourism is down and events are down.
And I mean, this is now global. But besides all of that, and everybody knows the global economy’s coming down, but we are given the unique opportunity where we are forced into deceleration of a world that is way too fast. Way too busy, way too, if you want, unreflected. Quickly do this, quickly let's go here, let's do this and this lockdown that's happening from a family perspective, and from a dad's perspective, I think has given us the unique opportunity where we are forced to spend time with the kids and the wives or partners. And we can now really spend that time with intent because there's nothing else you can do. So, you know, make the most of it. And it is a time of transformation where we can think about what we want and where we want to go and think deeply and execute on that and execute hard because you know, no one can tell me that the world will be the same after this.
So I might as well be intentional around how I go through this period. And one big part of that for me is family and how we want to do family, you know? And another part is business, when we talk to dads, so yeah, I think it's, it's amazing that we get this gift, like, think about it.
Everybody in my company is not commuting to work. There are a couple of people who have children. I know one, particularly in the standup the other day, he was like, it's so amazing. I'm working from home. I see the kids, you know, I have one and a half hours a day times two in the morning and evening extra, and I can still do my work, and he does.
And he's with the kids and, like how amazing is this? And our clients and, you know, business partners realized that it's certainly possible. And we've, we've been working remotely for 20 years already. We service customers, in Germany and Switzerland. And we’re in South Africa. But hey, it's very possible, and now people realize this.
[00:11:43] So I think there's enormous opportunity in that, family and business.
Dave: Yes, there certainly is. And if necessity is the mother of invention, certainly that is the case here. And it may be the mother of intentionality in, in that invention. I find the same thing where this is a gift and it's illuminated the importance for us, with things such as the arts, like with music and with art and mandating that our kids are participating in these things with much more rigor than previously.
And it's bringing the best out of them. And it is also in my wife and me too where these things have always been important to us and our kids have been making music and art classes for years. But now there's, they're, they're teaching themselves to, in the absence of having a teacher here.
And that's one example of how we're intentionally illuminating things that are very important to us through this gift of having more time together.
Philipp: Have you always worked from home because you do HR, right? Are you used to the home office situation?
Dave: II am very used to a home office situation and so are my employees. We have a technology staffing company and while we enjoy the time that we spend together in an office we have remote from home capabilities for a long time now. And so the switch was relatively easy. But there's a lot that we need to do to continue to stay connected. And so we do a lot of things now and are trying a lot of things anyway, and I think that's a big part of this, this experience is trying things.
You've got to just try new things and give them a shot and see how they stick. It's very important that my kids, as much as my employees, aren't defined by them. Their title or their role as firstborn or second or third or something, you know, that we're, we're connected by knowing who we are.
And so we try to foster that knowing better through our virtual chats and in the home by doing different things to showcase kind of the unique talents of each of our kids.
Philipp: That's a very interesting point. Do you know who we are in terms of talents, do you let children and picking up from what you said about work, to try stuff?
Do you let your kids try everything and then they can drop it again after two weeks, for instance, with an instrument? Or do you say okay, if you choose this, You need to do it at least two, three months, and whatever, achieve. Do you understand what I'm saying?
Because wanting to be whatever you want every day is also not working. I find for kids from a dad’s perspective.
Dave: Yeah. You know, we want our kids to make their own choices, both from a standpoint of choosing things that they're good at choosing things that are that go well as much as choosing to make decisions and choices that maybe don't go so well and letting them fail on their own, sometimes failing fast.
But we like to, I'm probably guilty of, of offering our kids an opportunity to try just about anything and whether it's a skateboard or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or which isn't so easy right now being quarantined. But you know, I want them to try different things and see how they like it.
And I don't force them, force them upon them. But I certainly encourage them as much as we can. There's a big level of encouragement right now. That's, that's, that's important in our family, just encouraging each other. It's very motivating for us. And I find that showing a lot of encouragement, which is one of our values is going a long way towards helping us through times when you feel you know, just tight and stuck.
Philipp: Yeah. And kids deal with their problems. You know, they might not feel difficult to you, but for them, they're like the stuff of magnitude. That's hard. Do you wanna jump back to your dad and that story and especially the cue point of three men in three different generations, you know, you growing up and you were born, your older sister was already a grandmother and you must've had a lot of different, should I say cultures or viewpoints on how we do things when you grew up from around your family, how was that?
Or was your family not so connected that you weren't really in contact with them because of what you said there were different mothers? Or how was that because your dad was older or old, your mother was rather young? There's already a, I wouldn't say tension, but as a different level of how you do things and maybe I don't know values or, you know, the arts connected them.
I get it. But then, it's a very interesting family dynamic. What can you share with us what you learned from growing up with all these different perspectives? That you experienced..
Dave: Yeah. You know, it was in retrospect very hard. You know, I had a difficult time embracing the age of my father at times. I, you know, I know that in the face of sort of pressures as a kid, that I, I would even lie about him, meaning, you know, I, I can recall it sort of haunts me that I remember telling a group of kids that he was my grandfather. I mean, imagine telling some kids that your father is your grandfather, just because he was so old and because you were embarrassed.
And I think that's a reflection of the type of emotional sort of IQ I had and also the sort of pressures of trying to fit in. So I had a hard time fitting in. We were a poor family and we were different and we lived in a relatively affluent area of Northern California. And so fitting in was very challenging.
My father, as he got older, was effectively blind yet. He continued to compose music and my mother was very busy teaching music in the public school system. At one point she was the singular music teacher in 26 different schools. And you know, so she was exhausted at the end of the day.
And so I had, I found myself very independent and at a very early age making my meals and sort of fending for my own. And it's not something I would necessarily want for my kids. Sometimes I think I sway the other way where I want to provide for them so much that they don't need to have that intensity, that level of, or sort of independent intensity. Although I think in ways it's served me well as I've grown older. But as you alluded to, the influence of the arts sits with me very much, especially as I grow older and I see so much beauty. In the world and our experiences.
And I find myself sharing that with my kids in ways that I know is a reflection of, of the beauty of music. And so, especially as a father, That becomes something I self amplify even more where I want to encourage that appreciation for all things. And, the beauty of things, even in our despair.
So I think that that's, that's a big reflection of growing up in the environment that I did, a sense of beauty that comes from the arts and of music.
Philipp: That's beautiful. I guess you're referring to a situation now. And again, if you want to put it on a philosophical law on a, on a non-business kind of level, the Earth maybe needs this acceleration and it needs to regain this beauty and this connectedness. By disconnecting.
We need to take a break bru. We need to stop a bit and you know, then we can continue, but this is, it's a good thing. Well, lynch me besides all the business stuff, and people are very sick, but it's also a kind of a cleansing.
Dave: I think so too. I mean, I mean, arguably things, were, you know, in retrospect perhaps they were too good to be true where the despair that we're feeling right now might be too true to be good.
But I, I mean the despair of other things too, you know, we, my wife lost her father a little over a year ago and this is the first time our kids really, felt death and it was so moving to see just how vulnerable they were in, in the face of, of the loss of their, their Papa.
And you know, to this day in reading some of my town journal entries from, from back then I found incredible beauty in that where I know that learned how valuable life is and how short our time really can be be and for young kids and that's you know, that's, that's an early lesson to learn. But they took that very hard and I think it became something that they channel often. They referenced their papa often in a really beautiful way of what would papa want or how would he, how would he, what would he do here? What would he say?
Philipp: Hmm. Have you ritualized his passing and then, you know, think that that might've come out of that as original and how you guys dealt with it with the death there.
Dave: Well, I have my, I have my sort of paternal rituals. I keep a little book for each kid. A field note, like a little simple book. I have them right here these little, little books and they're just little simple memo books. And each one is for each child.
This one is for Emily. And what I do is I write little shorthand notes of moments that each, that with each child that sort of lives with me and sticks with me. They're not meant to be long journal entries, just little shorthand notes, and I'd never date them. I just simply put in there something that they said during the day or something that they did, that was meaningful.
Something that I observed and yeah, they're incredibly rewarding to review them. And I know that one day when I give these to the kids, they'll be very meaningful to them. We can look back at the things that I felt touched me, that they did, and they'll know that they've had an impact on making me the man that I am, and that's, that's important to me. And that's a ritual that I, that I have among other rituals as a father.
Philipp: You know that what you just said is so amazing because what you are implying they will know that they've had an impact on me is you're implying that you're allowing your children to change you, while you're busy changing them.
And that is a very powerful concept because parenting does not go one way. Parenting is not. I tell you and you have to do something now. And real parenting goes both ways.
Dave: Thank you for recognizing. Yes. Thank you for recognizing that. I believe that is a truly, truly virtuous circle in that respect.
And I want them to know what kind of an impact they have, not just on me as a father, but on, on their mother and, and on the world around them. I think that that creates a certain causal connection between the words they choose, the actions that they take, and how they can bring the best out of other people.
I had an interesting experience, Philipp where late last year I had the extraordinary opportunity to participate in an adventure race that sent me around the world. And I was gone from my children for a full month. I couldn't tell them where I went. I can't tell you now because I'm bound by an NDA and imagine this experience where you're gearing up to go around the world and you don't know where you're going to go, and you're going to be gone from your kids, on a total digital detox, no phone, no ways to communicate for an entire month except for a life-threatening situation on one hand or the other.
And in that, knowing that I was going to be gone for a full month I thought about how my kids would be going to sleep wondering where their dad was. Now, it's one thing to go to sleep and think, Oh, well, daddy's on a backpacking trip somewhere in Colorado. It's another thing to go to sleep when you're a seven-year-old girl and wonder, where is my daddy on planet earth?
I don't know. And knowing that, what I did is I wrote each of my kids several letters. In advance and that in itself was very interesting to think about writing a letter to your child, that they will receive in the future. And when they get that letter you won't know where you are and they won't know where you are, but they will receive this letter and receive my love, by getting that letter.
And so I had my assistant send these letters at staggered times so that each kid would get a letter at a different time. It was so important for me to do this because I wanted to focus on this race without the burden of thinking about whether or not I was being a good dad while I was all out gallivanting around the world on this, this adventure race and the impact that my words and this act had on my kids was profound.
And I'm very, very proud of it. And I think it reflects for me what is very important. You've heard it through the documentation of keeping these little field notes about each kid. But this is something also where, I feel like writing things down the power of, of channeling your thoughts through a pen, to a piece of paper.
And how the receipt, of a letter, is so incredibly powerful and so thoughtful that you know, in these kids, you know, they've all kept them in there. They're little, little drawers in there where they keep their, their special pictures and their special letters. And it was a, it was a really valuable parenting lesson for me, where I knew I had to do this and if I didn't do it, I would have been so disappointed in myself and I would have been so worried about them while I was gone. I don't know if you've ever had the experience of thinking you should do something and knowing it's right, and then not doing it. And of course, that can haunt you.
And particularly when you have an instinct as a father, that, you know, something is the right thing to do. You, you have to do it. You need to do it, you have to try it.
Philipp: I know this is very, very powerful. What you just said. I wrote a letter to my oldest daughter, Lena that she will receive when I die. She was only three and a half at the time. She's now four and a half. So a year ago. Yeah, but it was also a very, very powerful experience for me. Yeah, it was powerful, you know, writing a letter that you like, someone might only see when, when you're dead. And then I wrote another letter that she will get when she's 18.
And that's also powerful because what I thought, what it will do is that you envision a whole period into the future. And by making that vision visible in your mind, and maybe on paper, even you’re setting intentions, even if it's on a subconscious kind of level, but you set intentions for that path. And that's why I think it's a very powerful exercise.
Dave: It really is. And not only is it visible, but then tangible because you can hold it and feel it and read it and know that, you know, this is the same paper that, you know, you wrote on when you thought of her, you know, many years ago.
It sounds like you've done the letter from the other side. So to speak, I've written several of these through some forum exercises where you know, we had to imagine a situation where we were on our way home from a retreat and in the blink of an eye we got in a car accident and we died.
And, you know, after that moment we had the gift of that opportunity and that was to write a letter from the other side. And then each of us in the forum would go to a separate area around the woods or the house. And we've done this twice. And you write that letter from the other side and have that perspective of having this gift to just share your gratitude. And to say the things that are, are, are so meaningful to the one person that you write [00:30:00] this letter to and how it is that that person conveys your love to the, to the other people in this, in this both cases, it was to my wife. It's an incredible exercise that puts things into perspective.
Philipp: Yeah. Yeah. Did you give it to her? The letter,
Dave: I read it to her, to my wife, the first one and the second one, I haven't yet shared with her. So, but it's, She knows it exists.
Philipp: Share a little bit more on, I would love to hear more on this whole generational story If it doesn't bore you, because everybody always asks, how was your dad? I mean, he was a free spirit, you know, married a much younger woman, he was an amazing artist and you know, how was he, like, how was his stance as a dad?
He had many kids from different wives. And was he just like, how did he, did he transition into different periods and then transition out of them again? How was he?
Dave: Well, he was very focused on his music at all times. And as, as a father, he loved having kids. I mean, he, he had six of them and me, I particularly, you know, while I was a surprise, one of his sons Paul Bacon died in a tragic accident in the early sixties and he was a world-class skier and he had helped to start, the Vail ski club program, which is now world-renowned. And he was in a terrible accident and it just rocked, you know his core obviously to lose a son so tragically who had so much promise and didn't expect to ever have another child.
And for one that has put me in a constant position of discovery, I feel like I am always on a mission to discover who I am and where I came from. And, and who was this? This brother that I never met because of his passing and the circumstances that unfolded after that, I mean, I never would have been around, I don't think if he hadn't passed.
And so that is a very profound sort of journey for me to continue to discover the people who knew him who are still alive as a father. He was stern. He had a bit of an iron fist, you know, he meant what he meant, what he said, when he said it and he was not to be crossed in many respects. He had some I don't want to say necessarily old school sort of values, but you know, he, he wouldn't tolerate sort of discourse from, from what he, what he said and, you know, why would he, he was in his, you know, he was 85 trying to parent a ten-year-old, you know, kid and you know, he just couldn't handle talking back or things like that. He'd had enough of that. So there was, there was that element, certainly too. I remember you know, his, he had such a gift with words, such an incredible gift to capture the attention of anyone who would listen whether he was referencing history or referencing music or, or some type of an experience you know, going for a walk with him was, was like, you know, taking a trip through not just memory lane, but through the sort of history of the world. And so his words are just so strong.
I've, I've been reading his autobiography recently, because I, I found out oddly enough, through one of my nieces who was, of course, older than me. I know that's confusing. Of course, my father had the Spanish flu in 1918. And so yeah, so, I mean, wouldn't that be interesting if, if you know, I'd be naive to think that I won't catch Coronavirus, I very well could. Maybe I've already had it and been asymptomatic, but you know, he lived through the depression and the invention of the car, the television, world war one, world war II, the Vietnam war, and reading through his word has been not just therapeutic, but unbelievably, the humanity that he described experiencing after the depression was extraordinary. He was part of the works progress administration music project. He led the WPA in San Francisco at one point. And you know, the humanity that he references, the sense of community that he references over and over in his words during and after the depression gives me a lot of optimism and strength.
It provides incredible energy to know that we're, we're experiencing the same thing right now. And so here, I am reading his words while I'm trying to parent my kids through these trying times. And I mean, again, I, I referenced these, the words, the written words that if he hadn't put those down, I wouldn't be able to channel those into formulating my thoughts and my ways of handling those things. And that's why it's so important for me to journal and to write letters to my kids so that they can do the same.
Philipp: So thank you for that. I mean, just for that, I'll start a little booklet for my kids. I think it's an amazing, amazing idea. And you know, on that, on that kindness after such an event like the depression, I think we will have the same. We will have generosity and more connectedness and come together. It's already there. I mean, I can see it already, you know,
Dave: it's very evident.
Philipp: Very much we are still running as a business. So let's start a feeding scheme or get attached to one, you know, find one that we can support and help them fundraise. We have the knowledge as a digital agency, you know, we adopted a business. We adopted a personal trainer. And we do virtual coaching with him now, so that just he could survive, you know, and there's a lot of these initiatives going on. And I think this will only become more because we haven't seen the bottom of this yet.
And financially it's a mega-crisis, you know, millions and millions and millions of people will be out of a job after this. And hopefully we can be there after this and provide a space for work and to rebuild. I think the global community will pull together in that a hundred percent. I mean, you know, what else are you going to do?
And I think they are going to be two different streams. There will be hyper localism in a sense, in a positive sense, not tribalism, but hyper-local orientation. You know, I started a 60 square meter, veggie patch. Months ago, I always had it for fun, but now it's full, I'm working it the next three months because I'm in Africa, you know, the food's not going to go out, but at least it's going to be very annoying if you can't buy lettuce.
And by the way, there will be people who don't have food. So then I give it away. It's fine. If I water one net, second water, a hundred. And the second thing is, and a lot of people are doing that. You know, I bought more chickens and net and at the second area of change I think that we will see or where people will go is hyper digitization.
We see it already, you know, events are being held online and so-and-so and people understand that technology is available [00:38:00] and there will be a big run on bringing all laws online businesses as well. So we are traveling less, which is good. And I think that connecting locally on a local level, as well as connecting closest through digital channels will bring the word together more, but this time on a more conscious level, if you want, because in the past, connecting locally was not so conscious actually, but people were just connected digitally. Really? If you want to understand what I mean.
Dave: Yeah. You know, we're, we're, I, I think if sport and music connected us across borders, this virus is connecting us to, I mean, we all, I've always felt that when you pass someone on a sidewalk you know, they have a struggle, we all have a struggle and now we all have this common struggle and it's uniting us in a, in a unique way. And it's certainly changing our behaviors. And, you know, I, I read recently that in 2014 there was a subway strike in London and commuters were sort of forced to change their commuting behaviors.
And once they went back, you know, the subways opened up again about 7% of people never changed their new behavior. I think that's one example where we take what we're experiencing now. And particularly from a, you know, from a business standpoint, but also a parenting standpoint, I think we'll see a much greater, significant, percentage of people whose behaviors change and then stay that way. We're going to be adapting in ways that we've never seen before and we have the technology to adapt. And, and I hope that it means that there's this incredible enlightenment around family, because it's become so important to stick together and to be safe and to take care of family and, a and, and to bring the best out of each other within the home.
Philipp: Yeah. Yeah, you're right. And we don't even know what's going to come, but I mean, we don't on the obvious level dads and moms, who've now tasted the home office will demand a day or two at home, and that's going to have a big impact on family and in a positive manner. Very very positive. Can you share a bit on, since we're talking about this virus can you share a bit, how you are speaking to your children in an appropriate manner around this situation?
We touched on it earlier and you said you obviously don’t want to instil fear, but how concretely, how do you speak to them and how do you explain this to a seven-year-old and two 11 year-olds? What's going on, mine are a bit young. For them it’s business as usual four three-year-olds having a joll in the house.
We just have long school holidays, but how do you speak to your kids about it?
Dave: Yeah, well, I come from a great position of positivity. It's almost positive to a fault. Optimism and enthusiasm and positivity, are effective. That is my blood type. And so I can't help but explain that you know, there is a light at the end of this tunnel, but that this is a very serious thing. So in terms of explaining this virus, there is the sort of nuts and bolts of,this here you know, washing our hands.
If it wasn't already important, it is now like essential every time you come into the house, you know, to leave your shoes at the door there's these sort of regimented things that, we all need to do as a family to make sure that we're taking, we're mitigating steps to, you know, to stay healthy.
Well, dinner is very important to us. And I think dinner is when we sort of tackle the traditionally when we had dinner, it was more how, you know, talking about how school was the things that we learned. You know, I would talk about work. Mama would talk about work and we've, we've gone away from that. And one of the things in a way where we're talking about what's happening in the world and also. We talk about gratitude. So my wife instituted a thing where now at the end of dinner, we have a little book and everyone writes down three things they're grateful for. And then they need to, we all share them. And sometimes that goes over. Well, sometimes the kids don't want to participate, but as long as they write down their gratitude, they don't have to share them. But those are the things that we're doing. That's one example of, one of the things that we are doing to just remind ourselves of the things that we, we can be grateful for. And some of those are the things that we miss most.
We're a skiing family, and, you know, we, we often say that a family that skis together stays together. And so it's very hard for us not to be out there skiing every weekend and, and enjoying the mountains. Like we normally do, but the mountains will be there you know, when, this too shall pass, as they say, and, and, and quite rightly we'll have a return to that feeling and to that experience what we know very well. So, you know, I, in terms of how we convey this, you know, we communicate that, that this. is a temporary thing and that we need to make the most of it. And so for instance my wife and I started learning how to ride unicycles this week. For some reason, we have two unicycles that nobody in this household knows how to ride. We've just acquired them. And so we want to show the kids that, Hey, we've got these unicycles, let's learn how to ride them. You know, not too long ago, my son learned how to solve a Rubik's cube and he's very ambitious and, and became very obsessed with it. And so now we're in, we sort of supplanted this idea that, Hey, what if you could solve the Rubik's cube while riding a unicycle, and you could just see his wheels turning like, wow, that would be, that would be different.
We started a food composter and we're starting to build a vegetable garden, not, not as vast as yours, but these are things that we want to make the most of our time. So we talk about making the most of our time. We talk about time, all-time here. And so my, my kids are all suckers for, for facts.
and there's a sort of a fun fact that I'd like to share. That puts a unique perspective on how I view time as being our greatest currency. To me time is, you know, it is the thing that we most want back when we're on our deathbed. And it's the thing that we, we least want to waste. Particularly if you know, we come from a position of abundance and, and, and where we see the beauty in the world time is, is the most important thing. And so do you know the difference between a million seconds and a billion seconds?
Phillip: It's probably a whole lifetime. I don't know.
Dave: So a million seconds is, is, is a little over 11 days, a billion seconds is a little over 31 years. And so if you think about the disparity it's in between a million and a billion seconds, that's quite significant. So what I'd like to thank is that you know, I'm 47. And in about 31 32 years, you know, you’ll be 78 almost, you know, almost 80. And I've got about a billion seconds. Go there. if I live to be 80, that'd be great. So I consider myself a time billionaire and this came up again at the dinner table the other day. This notion, of time. And, and currency and seconds and how we spend our, our seconds and our how do we recognize the moments there? So my kids are billionaires.
I mean, they've got billions of seconds left on, you know, to live and to enjoy. And that makes them feel rich. That makes them feel wealthy and in a way that transcends actual, you know, money. And so that's something that we've been having fun with at the house during these trials. I like that.
Philipp: I mean, our children would be both our children close enough. They will all be well over a hundred. Because don't forget medical technology also advances and life expectancy is already up on the billion in a billion years. You'll be at a ripe age for a fourth child.
Of course, ask your son if he can also do the dishes on his motorcycle and put that as a challenge after he solved the Rubik's cube.
Okay. Is there anything that you want to talk about that I haven't brought up yet? That's important or that we need to share with our dads and moms who are listening from experience?
Dave: Yes. Yeah, it's important to me that my kids know that their ideas matter, that when they have an idea that they have the opportunity to be actionable on those ideas. We took our son to Tanzania, Africa when he was six. My wife and mother-in-law started a school out there for the Masai. And when he was at this school, he saw Mount Kilimanjaro. And thought, boy, I'd love to climb that mountain. And a couple of years later, when he was eight, he reminded us that he wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and he had this simple idea.
It was one sentence. What if we climb Mount Kilimanjaro and we raised money for the school. But what if Benjamin, what if we did that? Flash-forward when he was 10, together we raised $103,000 for that school. I led a group of 25 people up to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. And it was an incredible organized effort that brought tears to everyone's eyes.
And it's one example where a simple idea became a reality. And it's so important to me that my kids if they want to build a cardboard city out of boxes will then let's start saving our cardboard boxes from all these Amazon deliveries and let's make it a city or, you know, whatever idea it is that they may have. If you have an idea for a new game. My daughter and I were playing ping pong the other day. She's like, I have an idea for a new game of ping pong instead of playing it on top of the table. Let's play it under the table. And since then we've been playing ping pong underneath the ping pong table. Instead of winning, we just try to have as many hits. So it's more of a game together.
Philipp: You're winning because you're spending time with her.
Dave: That's right. Yeah. But I mean, Yeah, I suppose you could plug this idea of, of, of harnessing ideas into anything you do. But to me, that's another example of, you know, she had an idea and it's like, sure, well, why not? Let's give it a try. Let's do it. Yeah. And that's, that to me is so important, for a child to see and believe that. And also to see that they're their parents truly believe that when you have an opportunity, to create something or to say yes to something that you give it a shot that you try, especially if it's going to, if it falls in line with the kinds of things that make you ambitious or that, that it makes you tick.
Philipp: Yeah, even, you know, another dad said to me it's to think how you worded it, even if it just gives you an excuse to celebrate your relationship. You know, it doesn't matter if it's a hit and he was in a different context, but you know, the idea of playing the ping pong under the table. It doesn't matter.
It may never turn into an Olympic game, you know, but probably you have the excuse to celebrate the relationship with your daughter by allowing the idea into your lives and to play with it and let it evolve and let her take the lead. And this is, by the way, we're coming full circle here, in a sense also the realization, the very much the realization of your daughter changing you.
In the parenting experience. And that's why it's very powerful. It doesn't matter if you value the idea as good or bad, it's just an idea. And if you let it go, if you let it flow you can just benefit from it. That's amazing. I saw that the Kilimanjaro trip was done for that.
Philipp: Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart, this was good and I will start writing stuff down about my children and how they impact me and how they make me feel happy. So they can have this and read this. I do journal already, but I journal for myself or someone might read it, but this is different in a particular context. I hope that after Corona, you will come here to Cape Town. We have a cool mountain. It's not high.
David: The best advice that I can give myself as a dad is to show my vulnerability, to show my kids how it's okay to make mistakes and that their daddy has made mistakes over and over and over again, and will continue to make mistakes.
I love how you, you, you channeled what I was saying both in the beginning, at the end about how I want my kids to know that they have an impact, on framing who I am. Like, that's real. Like I, in a way, like, I know I've thought of it that way, but then hearing you say it it's like your, your comprehension of that sort of idea, validated everything that I did.
Philipp: Oh, you've just done it intuitively you know, you love your kids and that's what you're doing.
And, but that's really what it is.