Nine years ago, I was working with a young artist in college named Jon. We were developing a comic strip under a syndication contract. One day, I happened to mention that my children were talking about their futures. My son, just 14 at the time, wanted to join the service and become a sniper. My 16 year old daughter decided she would like to be a prosecuting attorney.
I’ll never forget Jon’s reaction. He had this aghast, close to horrified, response:
“You’ve raised a SNIPER and a LAWYER? WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU??!!”
Ha! I still laugh out loud whenever I think of that.
Indeed, my son became a Marine, though he decided against being a sniper. He wanted to fight alongside his buddies and did so. They cleared houses (the most dangerous job they have) in the Battle for Fallujah (the worst battle of the war) for two months at the end of 2004. My daughter just graduated law school this summer and passed the Bar a couple of months later. She just finished up her first case, helping the defense with a murder trial – always the underdog side in such court cases.
So, I did indeed wind up raising two warriors. That was never my intention, but it happened somehow. And despite Jon’s revulsion, I think I did okay. I’m very proud that my children have a strong desire to protect and to serve and that they’re brave enough and tough enough to endure whatever it takes.
It just struck me yesterday that maybe that’s why, in that same mysterious way – “somehow ” – I’ve wound up creating the business plan for a warrior company. That was certainly not my intention in January of 2003, when I decided to take it upon myself to find a way for cartoonists to make a living directly from their cartoons online. Back then, I had no intention of taking on the world. Far from it. I created a tiny, humble company, in a small sector of the Internet. But it proved to be impotent because of powers standing in the way that weren’t fair to all. So its growing ambition just happened through a natural course of trial and frustration, and trial and gained knowledge, and trial and persistence.
They say your startup is like your baby. Was it inevitable that my third “child” become a warrior, too?? Despite the fact that I see myself – and have been described by others – as being a gentle parent and a peacekeeping manager?
If you’re an entrepreneur, perhaps you should take a look at your own children, especially if they’re old enough to have set ambitions. Maybe they can give you some insight into what your company will grow up to be.
As Jon asked, what kind of mother (or father) ARE you? You’re probably influencing much more than you realize. Somehow.