There will always be a gulf between parents and their children, at least when it comes to taste. As it should be, your tastes are informed by years of experience and theirs by the yet unjaded joy of discovery. Why would you like what they like? You know more!
And still, it remains an imperative—if you want to connect with them and if you want to shape and encourage them—that you always keep their interests in mind. We told the story about Jennifer Doudna’s father dropping off a copy of a science book he thought his daughter would be interested in. The result? MRNA vaccines that will save millions of lives. We told the story of Lars Ulrich and the rock music he listens to with his sons on the way to school. We told the story of Bill Simmons driving his daughter to soccer tournaments all over California.
Your job is to figure out what they like and help them continue to explore it. Oh, they liked this movie? Here’s another they might enjoy. Oh, they like this book? Here’s the author’s entire catalog for their birthday. Oh, they like dinosaurs? Here come the weekend trips to museums; here comes the photos of you in front of the Brachiosaurus in the United Terminal at O’Hare; here comes a video you can watch together.
When their interests become your interests, they become opportunities to connect and explore and to share. Let them be the driver, you just provide the fuel.