This post is not going to be what you think. Many people know that Steve Jobs was a challenging personality, a business genius, workaholic and an exacting perfectionist. Not all great qualities for a parent. I could write a “what-not-to-do” post about Steve Jobs, but that would be too easy. Instead, I want to share with you some positive highlights of Steve Jobs as a parent.
I recently finished the biography on Steve Jobs. It was a fascinating 656 pages that I had a hard time putting down. Yes, Steve Jobs was obsessed with his work and often neglected his role as a father to his children. However, here are a couple things that I learned from his story.
Marry the right person
Having a partner that complements your personality style and makes up the difference for your flaws and shortcomings is a wonderful thing. As far as I can tell Laurene Powell Jobs is an amazing woman and probably one of the only people that could have put up with a man like Steve. I think that she did her best to support her husband and parent their children despite his areas of lack. That is a true gift.
Finding the right person to co-parent your children with you is crucial. Whether you are married, divorced, dating or single.
Mentoring is key
By all accounts, Steve Jobs was not very attentive to his daughters, but he had a special relationship with his son Reed. He would bring him to board meetings, invite him to look at plans at the kitchen table and really had a strong influence on him. It is important not to miss out on the opportunity for father’s to mentor their sons and mother’s to mentor their daughters. This can be a beautiful mix of quality time and teaching skills for the future.
Make up for your mistakes
Steve Jobs fathered a child in the late 70’s, but for many years he strongly denied paternity. He refused to acknowledge that she was his daughter and did not offer financial support, even though he was a multimillionaire. Strangely enough, he even named a computer after her (Lisa), while still denying he was the father. Later he established a relationship with her and they enjoyed some good times together, even though their relationship was not perfect.
It is so vitally important to be able to learn from our mistakes as parents. We have many opportunities to grow closer to our kids through making amends for our poor choices. We can teach them that we are not perfect people, but we care enough to make things right.
Create special memories with your kids
Steve had an awesome tradition with his kids. When each one of his three kids turned 13 years old he promised to take them on a trip anywhere in the world. Just the two of them. I am sure this was special and exciting for each child. One-on-one time with Dad and the choice to pick any destination they wanted. Of course, it helps if you have a private jet and unlimited funds. 🙂
Some of my best memories with my Dad were our summer camping trips to the place that we fondly named Moss Lake. (It was mostly moss and not much water.) We would sleep in the back of his 1965 El Camino, cook breakfast together and play 500 Rummy. It was awesome. These are examples of some of the ways that we as parents can create unforgettable moments with our kids. Good memories are easily one of the best gifts that we can give.