“Don’t forget to explore!” A lesson in creating from my daughter


On Monday, Harper and I explored the woods. We found puff balls, a beer bottle, a rabbit, and a squawking heron. We climbed a deer stand and tried to patch a beaver dam.

When we walked from the woods into the clearing next to the pond, we saw what appeared to be snow flowers. It was as if tall weeds that had managed to stay upright through the winter bloomed petals of snow.

Harper wanted to show “everyone,” so we recorded a short episode of Harper & Daddy TV, our hit YouTube show. (I mean, like, one of our video has 100 views.)

While we were filming, we realized that the snow flowers had formed atop nearly invisible spider webs. It was an exciting moment of discovery for both of us.

It had been a while since we had recorded an episode and Harper typically signs off, “Don’t forget to subscribe.” She learned this from other YouTubers who open up toy after toy. Those were the YouTubers Harper wanted to emulate. In the beginning, she always asked for toys while we were shopping, not to play with, just to open for YouTube. If you watch the early episodes of HDTV, you’ll see that they were somewhat toy-centric. I’ve tried to push her toward more experiential episodes where we and the viewers can learn something. It was a struggle at first, but she’s branched out from “toy reveals.”

“And don’t forget to . . . ” I was setting Harper up for her sign off.

“EXPLORE!” Harper said.

I was proud. You can see it on my face in the video.

We live in a world, especially online, that is obsessed with number of friends, followers, connections, visitors, and clicks. All of these things stats should be byproducts of the passion and wonder you put into creating. The passion needs to be there before the clicks.

When the exploration is reward enough, that’s when people start paying attention.


Let your voice be heard!