Create and refine at least one original idea weekly in an area of your interest.
It’s almost nine o’clock in the evening. Both the older boys have finally fallen asleep. My wife is in bed, recovering after giving birth. The baby is fast asleep, but he’ll wake up again soon. This is our first night together, all five of us, in our home.
My father is here, and my brother. They looked after the boys while my wife and me stayed at the hospital. 18 hours ago, my brother went to the hospital, he was worried his lung had collapsed again. It was nothing, but he spent a few anxious hours at the hospital when he should have been lying in bed. He’s sleeping now. My father is in the living-room with me, talking about running and the olympics.
My mind is in family mode. With two kids, I knew how to do things, we had our rhythm, they knew what to expect from me and I knew what to expect from them. We had play-fights on the couch. Now the couch was occupied by a sleeping baby, and he woke up, and I carried him and tried to soothe him before he finally got his food instead of playing Lego with the oldest or drawing with the youngest.
My wife has borrowed books about family life from the library. I skim them, pick up a few hints, try to keep in mind that every family is unique, and it’s always a possibility that we shouldn’t do what every writer suggests. We should do what suits us best. Whatever that is.
This is my only area of interest at the moment: my family. So I should create an original idea for my family, for how to raise children? But sometimes I don’t want to be original for originality’s sake. I don’t want to be a different father than every other father just to be different. I want to do what’s best for my kids, not something to make me stand out from the crowd.
(I’ll nudge my kids to ditch their shoes and walk barefoot — but only because I think it’s better for them. In a perfect world, everyone walked barefoot as much as possible, and I wouldn’t be different.)
I sit in the living-room and have a conversation with my father about this and that, about my children and sports and why on earth I still haven’t learned to drink coffee. I try to…
My wife calls me, my baby calls me, they need a hand, the diapers are not good, they need a new pyjama, a new diaper. Originality would be to carry the diaper like a dog, in my mouth. Or to get a towel instead of a diaper. Or to suggest he should sleep naked.
No. I have no need for originality at the moment. Not even coffee. I’ll stick to the tried and tested. Water. Pyjama. Diapers.
Original ideas will have to wait.