Memo From Michael: A Father-Daughter Adventure

I just returned from a nearly 3-week journey to Southeast Asia with my daughter Samara (a 19 year-old sophomore at NYU). It was an exceptional trip. We visited parts of the world I’d never been before – Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam and China (Hong Kong) and the exposure to the vast array of cultures and languages in this part of Asia was enlightening. But the opportunity to spend so much one-on-one time with the young woman my first baby girl had become was spectacular.

I admit it’s tough to get any of my four teenage daughters (I have three others: Abrielle, 18, Carissa, 16, and Mataya, 14) to want to spend any time with me, so I offered as bait a promise to take each of them anywhere in the world they wanted to go. Samara had an extended winter break from NYU and she took me up on the offer and together we selected this trip.

I cannot recommend strongly enough for parents to try to have some trip with each of your children separately, and for children to look for an opportunity to really get to know your mom or dad with a trip. If you can’t find the time, make the time. You’ll never regret it, but you might very well regret not doing it.

On the home front, Lance Armstrong’s belated confession and all the lawsuits in its wake, along with the peculiar but fundamentally sad Manti Te’o story about a fictitious girlfriend who had died has certainly kept ethics in the news while I was away. From a moral standpoint, Armstrong’s premeditated serial cheating is serious stuff without complexity or excuse.

The Manti Te’o story is much more complicated, especially now that he admits that a few days before he went on national TV to speak about the death of the girlfriend he’s never met, he had information suggesting it was a hoax. I’d love to hear your opinions on either or both stories. Write me at

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