Tag Archives: family

Bittersweet

(One of my favorite pics from this morning)

Today marks a big milestone in our little (or not so little anymore) boy’s life……the first day of kindergarden. On top of that, it was his first time riding the bus to school which has left me with that bittersweet feeling that tends to come with any significant change in one’s life. You are looking forward to that next stage, yet feel a bit of sadness for the stage that you are transitioning from.

Jack has been going to Montessori school for the past couple of years so going to school atmosphere during the day is not new, but riding the bus is. We were unsure how he would handle this change as we have always dropped him off and picked him up from school. We also were not sure how he would handle getting up so early to get to the bus at 7:30 in the morning.  Today he was so excited, got up without issue and was out extra early for the bus.

Today went much smoother and easier than I was expecting. He got to play with all his friends before school and the excitment for the first day of school was definitely in the air.  It will be interesting to see if the second day is met with the same level of excitement and even to compare today to a month from now. My hope is that is excitement continues and that he finds it both a challenging and rewarding environment to be in.

Today is bittersweet because as excited as I am for Jack to grow and be exposed to new things, I also know this means our boy is growing up and fast.  I am very curious to see him develop and where is interests and talents take him and what he is going to be like as an adult. At the same time, a part of me wishes he could stay etched in time at the exact age he is now.  It is our job to help guide and teach our son, but I find that I am continually learning every day from him as well.

These critical moments and milestones in your child’s life are important. Be sure not to miss these and overlook their significance.  I believe these are the moments we will remember and cherish and bring true meaning to our lives. The real world makes this harder at times and can get us to overlook these if we let it. I cannot say that I have always been successful in turning work off and enjoying the moments, but I am cognizant of it and always try to keep doing better as I go.  

There are varying degrees of success and people look at success differently. Yes, work and career are important in terms of being able to provide and support your family, but your family and being there with them is the most important thing (at least to me). 

A few questions that are on the top of my mind consistently: At the end of my days here, will I be able to say that I was the best husband I could be? was I the best father I could be?  I hope the answer to both of these questions are yes. At the same time, I have to realize that this does not mean I have to be perfect.  At the very least, I hope and plan to be able to say that I gave it my best shot.  What I hope to teach my children is: You may not always win, but as long as you know you tried and did the best you could and you had fun while doing it, you haven’t lost either.


Lessons Learned from a 5 year old

This is in honor of my son, Jack, who turned 5 today. If you are in the testing field and you are interested in the world of patterns and perspectives, there is nothing quite like trying to detect those of a curious and creative toddler.

Here is a pic of Jack at his first White Sox game last year:

Perspectives: Everyone has a different perspective in life and that is definitely true for my son Jack. I wish I had time for a ton of examples, but am amazed when we have a similiar experience and/or encounter and I take it a certain way and then days later Jack will bring up that same moment with a completely different take on it. It makes me really think about my perspective.

  • Default: We discussed this in James Bach’s Tutorials at StarWest 2010 and is something that I have been trying to actively work on and remember to not be biased and stuck with my initial thought/reaction to a subject.
  • Historical: Learn from history and past actions and consequences.  When we are in the beer/wine aisle, he will ask if all the beers are mine as I am a beer drinker. When we are buying wine he knows that white wine is for Yia Yia (my mother) and red wine is for Abu (my step father). He knows that he has seen his Nana (my mother in law) drink both so knows either one could be for her. Although I every once in awhile throw off his pattern by having a glass of wine. So be aware of the exceptions to the rule you are working against.
  • User: Thinking from a user’s perspective: I can’t imaging a toy builder or game creator for kids could possibly think of the various ways in which my son “enhances” the game or what he decides to do with the toys he does have. In many ways, it is similiar to the application my team and I are currently responsible for testing. The permutations and ways in which our users can utilize the application is nearly infinite.

Patterns: And when detecting patterns, you learn a lot playing a board game or even a made up game using his matchbox cars and a race track.  They have a tendency to fit and evolve to enhance his chances of winning, but are generally consistent and plays within the set of his own rules that he come up with.

For example, the latest was if your car landed in a certain spot, you would burn in hot lava. But finding the boundaries where the hot lava stopped  and you were safe was very specific in his mind even if it was not to me.

I really just wanted to celebrate my son today, but this topic has been on my mind as i am really digesting and digging in to perspectives and patterns and continuing to drive my own education in the field with the help of others.

Conclusion:

  • Be careful of relying solely on your default perspective and allow yourself to think differently or how someone else might perceive the same problem.
  • Don’t be quick to force a pattern to be there as while it may look like the pattern, you might miss out on the bigger picture.
  • As well, learn from past successes and mistakes, there is always room to improve and learn.  have you seen this problem before? how did you resolve the problem before? what steps can you take to prevent similiar problems in the future?
  • Think of what the users can and may do with the application and not just what the functional spec or any documentation states. There is a great chance they will use your application in ways you never would have imagined.
  • Think like a 5 year old – Don’t constrain yourself by conventional wisdom and how it “should” be.  Obviously that is simple, but don’t let bias and what others tell you how something is, keep you from exploring and finding new ways to do something.