Just before Christmas break, I received the phone-call from my wife that is the dread of every parent… our daughter had ‘won’ the class-fish and now, she was home, standing with a small platty in a plastic Zip-Loc bag.
Nice. Thank you school. Because, if it was a plant, fine. You put it down, water it, let it die and no-one cares. But a fish. It first needs a fish tank. And then, since I have a daughter, she wants to have the pink fish tank. Even the guy at the pet store raised his eyebrow: ‘Do you really want to buy… that?’
He clearly did not have children. Because once you have them, and they look at you with those big eyes, there is no escaping. Yes. I bought the pink one, and an additional fish, and had a very happy daughter. For, about a week. Because then, the ‘new’ fish died. Belly up. Hasta la vista. Too bad… down the toilet.
But, through the wailing sobbing sounds my daughter was able to produce, I promised her to buy a new fishy. That one fishy became two smaller guppies. And she was so happy. Had to take all the preparations again, clean the water, let the fish float for a bit, and let the fish get used to the tank.
Two days later, which was earlier today, one of the two new fishies decided to pass on to better places. Maybe it was suicide, maybe it was plain murder of one of the other swimming suspects. No matter, the result was the same. Crap. Again a crying daughter on the phone, sobbing so hard that my phone got water-damage. So, I will be buying a new fish today. Yes. Don’t mention it. I know. Little pinky.
Anyway. This nice trick from her school cost dear-old-dad already about $50. And believe me, life was perfectly fine with one cat and a dog. So, this free little fish has cost me enough money, and suffering through the holidays.
And that is where I like to make the switch to our subject. Because, this little fish that suddenly showed up on our doorstep, is exactly like someone saying – your boss, or your client – ‘I have an idea for a new site’. It is that exact same feeling that I got when I hear about the fish. Because that ‘idea’ of that one site – usually accompanied by terms like ‘easy’, ‘quick’, and ‘we can do that within a day’ – always raises red flags.
A thing like a website brings a lot more responsibility, a lot more work and a lot more maintenance with it than just ‘quick’. It simply does not work that way. A website is something that requires a domain, hosting, coding, content, design, testing, creating an audience, constant updates… not the default ‘online and done’. At least, not if you want it to have the effect that is required.
Sure, I could have thrown fishy #1 in a vase, put it in the window-sill and ‘awwwwwwww… Fishy died. Too bad. Don’t cry, we have cake!’ But, well, that does not provide a good learning lesson for my daughter, isn’t it? Because, getting the fish is a lesson about responsibility, care taking, enjoying the presence of another living being.
The question is… for who has it been a learning lesson… daughter? or Dad?