Playground Perspectives: Now We’re Cooking

One of my new favorite activities is cooking dinner. By which I mean, one of my all-time favorite activities has just gotten more interesting.

It turns out my daughter likes to cook with me.

Part of it, I'm convinced, is the opportunity to eat half of her dinner before it even makes it to the table. There's also a small sliver there of just enjoying doing things with me, her dad.

Oddly enough, her palate has expanded as our culinary journey has progressed. By which I mean she likes the idea of more foods than before. It's a start.
Her favorite things to cook right now are stir fry and pizza. Stir fry is attractive to her because she likes to eat red pepper, carrot, green beans and snow peas raw. Pizza? Well, you get to toss the dough. And write your name in red pepper strips on mom and dad's pizza.

At the end of a busy day, it is hard to slow down enough to make this successful for both of us. (I want to fix dinner and eat. She wants to learn how to fix dinner. I can work faster alone. She wants to work with me. I'm in a hurry. She's not.)

I remember as a kid sitting patiently with my father as he worked on one project or another, never allowed to do much more than pass him an occasional nail. Some combination of his need for perfection and control and my own awkward inability to ask to help colluded to keep us from working together when I was young.

I see the same dynamic in the workplace - mine and yours both.

Ask my team how often they find me cooking alone. (Too often.) Ask yourself how often you cook alone.

Here's an exercise for you: Skim through your own day and see what percentage of your busy time was spent teaching someone else. Look around your organization and catalogue all the ways it encourages people to collaborate. Now, do more.

Being a mentor, a partner, a cooking companion to my daughter adds depth, flavor, opportunity and relationship to her day. Granted, it's my job. And it's something I value deeply and do without much fuss. (Usually.)

But it's also my job to be available to my team, to our intern, and to be a teaching partner, and a learning partner, with our clients. It's all part of my job description. How about yours?