Posts Tagged ‘communication’

The Book of My Father

June 9, 2016

David & Gene Marshall, April 2016

I love and deeply appreciate my 84-year-old dad, but it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had a strained relationship with my father for most of my life.

As a kid, he felt very distant, leaving it to Mom to care for me, my brother, and my two sisters.  His head buried in a book, he seemed to view it as a chore if I asked him to help me with homework, or play with me.  If I was hurting, he didn’t have much use for my tears, so I stopped crying in front of him at an early age.

As I grew older, he loved to debate with me about religion, politics, and how to make the world a better place, but at the end of each marathon session, my brain lay panting as he was just warming up.  I respected the hell out of my dad’s intellect, powers of persuasion, and commitment to make a difference, but I didn’t feel a lot of warmth coming from him.  He didn’t touch me much or seem to want to be touched by me.  We were about ideas, not feelings.

Dad was a Methodist minister who wanted to “renew the decaying Christian church from within.”  He worried that young people were leaving the church in droves because it was no longer relevant to their lives.  He translated the stories in the bible into language that everybody could understand.  He hoped I would follow in his footsteps, not necessarily as a minister but as a change maker. When I entered the banking world, got admitted to a prestigious business school, and later worked in the software industry, he worried that I was wasting my talents by serving myself instead of others.

I’ve been working as an editor for Berrett-Koehler Publisher (BK) for almost nine years now.  Our mission is to “connect people and ideas to create a world that works for all.” As a writer of many change books himself, my dad understands and respects this job more than my previous choices.  He reads many of our books and spreads the word about them in his newsletter.  Dad brags about my work at BK in ways I never heard during my previous work lives.  My wife Kate and I also write self-prompted family journals to help loved ones communicate.  Ironically, the first one I co-wrote with Dad’s father, Carl Marshall (The Book of Myself: A Do-It-Yourself Autobiography).  They say authors write the books they need the most; maybe that’s why I got into the family communication business myself.  Perhaps I have my dad to partially thank for this.

Even with all these ups and downs, as I sit here today, looking back on my last sixty years, and contemplating my next forty, I’m happy to still have my dad in my life.  He’s shared his wisdom with me, and has shown openness in learning from me.  We’ve come a long way from our cold and overly heady past.  We’re both trying to judge less and listen more.  Dad ends all his emails now with “Love, Dad” and hugs me tight when I visit him.

Dad had a health scare last year that made me realize that he won’t always be in my life. The time we have left together is precious to both of us.  In my last visit, I soaked up his wisdom about religion and spirituality for three days straight, and didn’t tire from it one bit.  He’s thinking about his legacy now and talks about hopes and dreams for the world after he’s gone, and the roles his children and grandchildren might play in realizing those dreams.  And I’m thinking about how to make the most of my second half of life, and see him as an inspiration for keeping mentally and emotionally fit—and staying fully engaged in life.

 

 

Dad, I love you to pieces!

 

 

 

 

 

David@60 – My Mini Life Map

February 15, 2016

I just turned sixty.  After reflecting on my last six decades and envisioning what my seventh decade might look like, I decided to create a mini life map* to tell the story with a few short words and pictures. I titled each decade just like a book chapter with the one or two words that defined the period for me. I then added highlight bullets, emotion words, thinking words, and a summary statement for each decade. Finally, I picked out two or three photos that represented the decade for me. This was a fun and meaningful exercise.  I’m looking forward to what the next ten-year chapter in my life will bring.

DAVID@60

Decade 1 – 1956-1965    FIFTH CITY

  • Germany #1 as preschooler
  • The Order – started in Evanston and then moved to West Side of Chicago
  • Fifth City” Urban Development Project – 16-square-block area near Homan Avenue “L” station
  • The Ecumenical Institute
  • Iron Boy (becoming an Iron Man)
  • Leif Ericson Elementary School
  • Two Fires (Evanston, my parents’ bedroom)
  • The Brotherhood (John, Mark, Wayne, David)

Feeling: Anger, Fear, Crying, Excited, Crazy, Nightmares

Thinking: Hot and cold – I love laying down my life for the mission, I hate it, no, I love it. No, wait….

Statement: The Order and the West Side ghetto of Chicago took me to the edge, but the Brotherhood helped me survive.

IronBoy_ChicagoWestSide  IronManStatueFifthCity  David-Mark_Lief-Ericson_6thgrade_Dec1967

 

Decade 2 – 1966-1975    FREEDOM

  • Third Fire (Chicago riots after MLK killing)
  • Leaving Home at Twelve
  • Iowa in Seventh Grade
  • Malaysia in Ninth Grade
  • Denver in Tenth Grade
  • San Jose, CA in Eleventh and Twelfth Grade
  • The Other World
  • The Institute of Cultural Affairs
  • “Christ Event” in San Jose, CA
  • Left Order
  • San Francisco State University (majored in International Relations & German Literature)
  • Fourth Fire (Wayne’s apartment house arson)
  • Germany #2 – Heidelberg University (junior year abroad)

Feeling: Homesick, Anger, Apathy, Remorse, Lonely, Awe, Exhilaration, Relief, Burning

Thinking: I grew up fast, maybe too fast. I’m lucid but I don’t fit in with non-Order youth.

Statement: In RS-1 language, I had my own Tillich Christ Event at seventeen and awakened to my own profound Bonhoeffer freedom, but it took a near-violent episode to shake me to the core.

David-Malaysia_1971  SFSU-ID

 

Decade 3 – 1976-1985    KATE

  • SFSU Graduation
  • Selling Apple II computers San Francisco financial district with Mark
  • Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City
  • Kindred Spirit Kate on Wall Street
  • Mexico City – Kate & David in penthouse
  • Atlanta – Starting software career at Peachtree Software, Mark & Julian
  • Our wedding in western Massachusetts
  • Boston – Harvard Business School, David L.

Feeling: Loving Soul Mate, Confident, Adventuresome, Taking (more than giving)

Thinking: I’ll make a difference by becoming a minister like my dad and granddad; no, I’ll work for non-profits and the World Bank to change the world; no, I’ll help the world by redistributing the wealth via commercial banking; no, I’ll bring voice to the masses through the microcomputer software revolution. Profoundly appreciative of my short Chase bank tenure since it brought Kate into my life-and changed everything.

Statement: My life changed for the better when I met Kate. I’m the luckiest guy I know.

Kate-David-Wedding-Day-web  Kate-David_Deerfield_10-14-86

 

Decade 4 – 1986-1995    EMILY & BEN

  • Emily born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • HBS graduation, Class of 1987
  • Germany #3 – Munich with Softlab, Klaus
  • Thinking, feeling, dreaming in two languages: German & English
  • Ben born in Munich, Germany
  • Moved to San Francisco with Softlab GmbH/BMW AG
  • JourneyWare Media, Mark & David L.
  • Joined Men’s Group
  • Kate and David’s 10th Anniversary
  • I Want You to Know, Before I Go” (precursor to The Book of Myself)

Feeling: Loving children; not worthy of HBS, but wait, maybe I am; ready to take risks; stressed at running own company with constant fund raising and cash constraint; safe with my men’s group

Thinking: Meeting the Mystery of Life in infant faces of Emily and Ben; entrepreneurial spirit

Statement: Co-creating, helping birth, and raising two children is the most awe-filled experience of my life.

Bo April 1998  Ben-1993  Emily_1993

 

Decade 5 – 1996-2005    MARSHALL BOOKS

  • Settling in Northern California
  • The Book of Myself published (becomes bestseller)
  • The Book of Us published (becomes bestseller)
  • Oracle Corporation, Preet and Mark
  • Homestore, weekly commute to Los Angeles, Preet
  • The Book of My Pet published (first dud)
  • Kabira Software in San Rafael, CA, Mark and Preet
  • Go-go high tech investing and crashing back to earth
  • Emily leaving the nest
  • Kate and David’s 20th anniversary
  • Men’s Group 10th anniversary
  • Leaving software business at 50

Feeling: After many travels, California feels like home; thrilled to be an “author;” relief with Oracle paycheck; exciting Homestore IPO; exhausting battles at Homestore and Kabira; burned out.

Thinking: Book of Myself proves I can work for myself; I’m an investment genius, oh wait, maybe I’m not. It’s time to move on, start over, and reinvent myself.

Statement: As software storms raged, I found my calling and ability to make a difference in Marshall Books.

Carl and David Marshall  BOM 2007 3-D  Book-of-Us_Cover_21.5kb

 

Decade 6 – 2006-2015    WORK REIMAGINED

  • Writing Iron Boy memoir
  • Berrett-Koehler Publishers – second (or third) career, finding true community
  • Ben leaving the nest
  • What I Love About You (becomes bestseller)
  • Emily’s Wesleyan graduation
  • Ben’s UCLA graduation
  • Emily’s University of Minnesota Law School graduation
  • The Book of Myself – second edition published
  • Picture of Me published
  • My Life Map published
  • What I Love About You, Mom published
  • Kate and David’s 30th anniversary
  • Men’s Group 20th anniversary

Feeling: happy, content, invigorated, creative, innovative, compassionate, learning to breathe

Thinking: I’m wearing two hats, one as an author, the other as a publisher, both with a mission to make the world a better place; giving back.

Statement: I’m extending my vocational calling, started with Marshall Books, by working for Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Macintosh-Development-Team-David-Marshall-2011   BK-staff-photo-for-website_Jan2016

 

Decade 7 – 2016-2025    SPIRITUAL SYNTHESIS

  • Studying Buddhism
  • Studying Christianity
  • I Loved You First – published in 2017
  • Complete and publish Iron Boy
  • Rediscovering music and singing
  • Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi
  • Aging well
  • “Refire Don’t Retire”
  • Kate and David’s 40th anniversary
  • Men’s Group 30th anniversary
  • Discovering the world; embracing global cultures
  • Planting my activist stake: protecting Mother Earth (or something else)
  •  Passing of parents – helping them exit with grace and dignity
  • Making a difference in grandchildrens’ lives

Feeling: peaceful, serene, contemplative, yearning, concerned, giving, body creaking

Thinking: What a gift to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit as I start my seventh decade; it gives me an opportunity to integrate the lessons of my first six decades and to help others with what I’ve gathered.

Statement: Synthesizing my spirit life toward enlightenment; discovering and nurturing my higher self in service of others.

Kate-David-GreatWall   David Avila Beach   Mens-Group2_October-2015

*If you want to do something simple like this for a meaningful milestone in your life, just follow this same formula I used. If you want a more comprehensive version with warm up activities to lead you through the life mapping process for your past, present and future, I recommend My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future, which I co-wrote with my wife Kate.

David Marshall, February 2016

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