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Saturday, 13 December 2014

SEEKING THE JOY IN DIRTY DIAPERS

I was chatting to a client the other day about a new business venture which he is creating.  He was so excited about its possibilities and I found myself caught up in his enthusiasm for the project.  As we were working through a step-by-step process to move it forward, there was a small dip in his energy as he realised that, outside the creative framework was going to lie a certain amount of adminstrative work: banking, accounting and (with no disrespect intended) some of the other unsexy aspects of putting together and running a business.

"I really hate admin", he said.  And then he cheered up, got back on the wave and said: "But perhaps I should just love it instead".  Fuelled by his come-back, I was inspired to suggest that it was like bringing up a child:  One of the most creative and inspiring things we do in our lives, but the project also entails changing smelly nappies as part of the deal.


The dirty diaper seems to me to be a great allegory for the tasks we don't especially enjoy or want in our lives, but are nonetheless necessary for the good of the whole.  My now distant (but still clear) recollection of nappy time was a bad smell and a pile of nasty poop that had to be disposed of, followed by a process of cleaning, swabbing and resuscitation of both the active parts of the child  and myself. And yet, challenging and unappealing as the process was on occasion, as a working father who didn't get to spend a lot of time with my family, nappy time became an important part of bonding with my babies.  Each time, we got to look each other in the eye, chat (or gurgle, as the case may have been), laugh together and share an experience.

If I never change another nappy in my life, it won't be too soon, but paradoxically I treasure those times because I believe they were such an important part of creating the relationship between my children and me and, more importantly, helping mould Jeska and Stefan into the incredible young adults they have become.

We learn that creation is a mixture of inspiration and perspiration in different proportions.  Well the truth is that, however much fun the inspiration might be, it's the perspiration which gives life to a project.

Soiled diapers, distasteful as aspects of changing them may be, are a necessary part of our creations, so treasure them and see them as part of a joyous larger experience.

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