TED & A Box of Kleenex

by Emily on November 10, 2011

Let me first start this post with a warning, if you’re having a lovely day and don’t want to add Kleenex to your routine, maybe save reading this post for a weekend catch-up.

My husband came home last night and said he was in tears on the bus.  Funny, I thought at first, Sid in tears? What on earth was going on?  Sid doesn’t really cry!  He said you’ve got to watch this guy on TED Talks.

If you’re not familiar with TED talks, TED is a nonprofit that started by bringing together people from around the world who were heroes in their fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design.  The task for them was to give a talk about their lives in 18 minutes or less.  And you really can’t go wrong with a mission like this:

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

I could go on about the variety of talks you can watch (on their site or itunes), anything from teaching kids real math with computers, why not eat insects?, to understanding the rise of china and beyond.  The tearful bus ride though, was about a man named Bruce Feiler and his recent book called “The Council of Dads.”

Bruce has an amazing story to share but he doesn’t talk much about his own bravery, or fight, or the difficult year he had.  He talks about how he asked six men in his life to form the Council of Dads.  He was diagnosed with cancer and what worried him most was that his daughters would not have him in their life.  He aimed to solve this problem by writing a letter to six of the most inspirational men in his life and asked if they would help guide his daughters if he didn’t make it through his brave battle with a very rare cancer.  (I know….bring on the Kleenex right!)

Sid was right, it is a moving “talk” and even more of a perplexing idea.  Who would I want to help guide my daughter?  Who has shaped me into the woman I am today and how can I be sure that Pip gains from the same experiences?  Now, this isn’t just talk of a will and who will care for your child. It’s a matter of bringing people together to give advice, love and companionship.

I really liked what he said about how he chose these men.  For him the concept of not having a Dad secured the idea that he only wanted “men” to be in this group.  His daughters would have their mother still.  He also said his criteria was to NOT include family members because they would also be a constant in his girls lives.

Bruce shares his story and tips for creating your own council, even if you’re not sick and even if you’re not a man.  This is a concept that really can get you thinking about your own life and also the unthinkable.  It’s a hard idea to want to talk about or even ask friends help on but one that I think is important.

Without knowing anything about this Council idea, I remember thinking about my own girlfriends when we were creating our will and there are surely some bits of my life that I’d like for my dear friends to share with my daughter if I’m not around to do so myself.  (Okay….enough Kleenex right!)

Sorry to be a downer today but I think this concept made me really think about the importance of connecting with your friends and maintaining your friendships regardless of the pressures, stress and to-do lists that fill up our calendars.


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