Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

The Magic Moment

One of the times that I feel the most joy as a father is in the quietest parts of the night, when I'm rocking my son to sleep.

In the first month or two after he was born, I definitely didn't feel that way. In the early days, all I was focused on was getting him back to sleep in the middle of the night, because my wife and I were exhausted. Getting him to sleep was the goal, and I was going to attain it when it was my turn to try.

Now, the cadence of rocking him to sleep is such a special, magical moment to me. I love floating my son from his crib to my shoulder. I love the rhythm of bobbing my knees to settle him down. I love the light scent of baby shampoo that wafts from his hair. I love how his tiny breaths intercede with the humming of the humidifier in his room. If I'm lucky, Riley is there laying at my feet and for a few minutes it's just me, my boys, and the quiet of the night. Knowing that Robyn is close by, one room over, makes it even more special.

And while I used to treat the second his right arm drooped slightly below my elbow as a signal that I'd nearly accomplished my goal of getting him to fall asleep, now it's a reminder to savor the moment for as long as I can. After all, these intimate and soulful moments I have with him won't last forever. To be cliche (but truthful), along the way, I've realized that joy comes from the journey and not from reaching the destination.

I suppose why I bring this up is that I feel like so many aspects of my life get wrapped up in results. In accomplishing the goal, in hitting the metric, in getting the task "done." And that's okay, because without the utility that comes with achieving results we can't survive. We need to get to a result when we set out to harvest the wheat, build the car, pump the water, deliver the package, or weave the cloth. I get that.

At the same time though, i think there's something lost in a world where all that matters is results. From the result comes utility, but from the journey comes the meaning, the intimacy, the joy, the friendship, the learning, and everything else magical.

I wonder what would happen if we started treating our work (and our lives) as a set of goals to accomplish and destinations to reach, yes. But also as a magical journey for ourselves, our colleagues, and our customers.