Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Connect Deeper

I have spent a wonderful few days visiting with my dad who is in town from Albuquerque. Although our fishing trips haven't quite produced the number of fish I had hoped or promised, it has allowed us some great time to talk and just be with one another. There isn't a fish big enough that could outweigh the quality time and conversation I've had with my old man!

Before dad's visit, I had a plan. I wanted to know more about him and find out some of the things that he was passionate about. I decided to give him a little pre-trip homework as a way to connecting with him deeper. It started with a little email...asking him for a "favor."

One day while I was out riding on my bike and my iPod was set to shuffle when an unmarked track of incredible jazz started playing. I knew instantly it was from one of the CDs I had ripped on one of my trips home (before I knew what I was doing to get the CD with with artist information on the iPod - no laughing please!) and instantly I felt closer to my dad. I spent the rest of that night listening to a lot of unmarked tracks and thinking of him. That got my mind a churning.

I started thinking....I don't even know what my dad's favorite CDs are. These tracks I was listening too may or may not be one of his favorites. I had randomly just grabbed CDs and started burning when I had first gotten my iPod. Given the feeling that I was experiencing and how warm it made my heart an idea of connecting deeper with my dad started to unfold. With it came a plan....a plan to learn more about what he considers his top favorites.

So the next evening I started a short email entitiled "Favor." In that email I asked him to prepare a list - a little homework if you will before his visit to Austin. In that email I asked him the following:

  • I asked him to preare a list of his favorite artists and albums of all time. I even asked him to bring me 10-15 of his favorite CDs - I wanted to be sure I captured the ones that meant the most to him. That would help my iPod listening make sure I felt close to him.
  • I asked him to prepare a list of his all-time favorite books.
  • I asked him to prepare a list of his all-time favorite movies.
  • I also asked him to bring any of the sketchs or doodling he did when we was designing woodworking stuff; my dad has mad skills when it comes to woodworking and jewelry making.
My goal was to find some things that meant a lot to my dad and make damn sure I knew what they were. The results were amazing. My dad not only completed his homework assignment but he brought even more. Stories and smiles that accompanied the list was worth it's weight in gold. Heck I even found out the movie my parents were watching when they decided they were "getting serious!" Okay....maybe it was too much information (TMI as my kids might say) but it sure brought a smile to Dad's face when he spoke about it.

There are people in your life right now you know you want to connect with on a deeper more meaningful level. Whether it be family, friends, business associates, whatever. It just takes having the courage to ask the right kinds of questions to open up an entire world of connection points. Regardless of whether your connection is friendship, business or blood, take the time and you may just find yourself enjoying immersed in simple pleasures and distant memories which now don't seem so distant anymore.

That's connecting my friends!

Ripple On!!!


TaRa said...

I was watching The Notebook last weekend (awesome movie, I hope you’ve seen it) and I just read your BLOG. The last part about the movie your mom and dad were watching when they decided they were “getting serious” reminded me of that movie. Not really sure why but I just wanted to share that and tell you that you need to see the movie if you haven’t already. Have a fantastic day!

TaRa said...

Oh and, it's so important to know these things about those we hold so near and dear. When my grandfather died, I remember sitting in the service with a sinking feeling because I had never heard some of the stories that other people told about him. It was a hard lesson to learn, but it stuck. said...

hi steve,
great suggestion, thanks.

glad it helped you reconnect with your dad, too.


Anonymous said...

Great idea. I'm emailing my dad tomorrow!

-- Austin Girl