Am I a Good Dad?

No, I’m not. I’m an even worse husband. I quit my job, left my wife alone in Monterey with our 3yr old and 7yr old, with no family to help out and her own nearly full-time teaching job.

On this Father’s Day alone, I’m reflecting...So why the hell am I doing this? Why did I quit a great job in California tackling climate change to shack up with some friends in Pennsylvania for 4 months and build Biomeme?

I believe in the very near future everyone will be doing biology at home - I want my children to speak the language of life as fluently as they speak Japanese and English. I want them to be as comfortable handling DNA as they are using my iPhone. I am not a citizen scientist, let alone a microbiologist. I can’t do DIY Bio and I’m not a Maker. However, I want to be. And I will be. And, more importantly, my daughters will be.

Forbes reported biomedical engineering is the most profitable major. Bill Gates recently remarked that if he was hacking today he’d be hacking biology. I’ve taken my older to Maker Faire and I’ve soldered Sparkfun kits together with my little girls. Yes, a 3 yr old can solder. And a 7 yr old can do sample prep, extract purified DNA, and amplify it via realtime PCR. Here's my daughter Biomeme'ing:

A few years ago, when my older daughter was 5, she learned my job was focused on climate change and made the connection with her most cherished animals – “You mean, your job is to save the polar bears and the penguins?” she asked me. “Can I help you?” she offered.

As I write this post, my little girl is away in Japan for the summer. I miss her tremendously but look forward to the day when she offers to help me again. For any father out there interested in being a better dad than I, please introduce your child to biology and life sciences. I found these web sites knowledgeable and user friendly. You can also start by getting them to extract strawberry DNA - my daughter LOVED it.

How are you introducing your children to biology? Please share with me what you’re doing with them or would like to do – Better yet do a quick YouTube video and email me the link. We're compiling experiences and could really use your thoughts.