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

Comments 7

  1. If I were to speak to them individually….

    Lance: The idea that “everybody is doing it” can certainly give path to wrong choices. Why not measure life with the consequences in mind? In a world flooded by technology there is not much space to hide an ill choice. As the Spanish saying goes “Lies have short legs.”

    Manti: Learn to check your facts. I believe you know a site is trusted if it has edu, net, or org at the end. Next time ask very specific questions such as “Which was the first commercial during such TV show?” Check the profiles the “person” left behind. We are all “traceable” now a days. A joke always has its price. The most difficult part is to “pay” for it. At least, now I know who you are, if that is a valid reason for the famous event.

  2. I think Manti was duped… and when many of us, even as adults, are caught is something that is surreal, it takes a few days to gather the strength and to gather our thoughts to deal with it appropriately. I feel sad that our society is so obsessed with perfection that we can’t forgive a young man, who has many wonderful character traits, for being unprepared for this sad experience. In 51 years, I have never encountered this level of a scam… and raising my children, I am not sure I would have prepared them for a national stage when confronted by this situation.
    Lance Armstrong is a completely different story… He was an adult, who had a clear understanding of the rules of the game. I am saddened to see that it took so long for him to confront the truth and come clean, but now that he has, as a community, we need to help make this an important learning opportunity and hopefully, for Mr. Armstrong, he will not face rejection on every level. His non-profit work for cancer and health should not be discounted because he has character flaws. Don’t we all have some and we struggle to face them head on and make something good come out of bad?

  3. I feel badly for Lance Armstrong’s children. That he chose to lie publicly. I am just not even sure what kind of conversation that must have produced. He is a big boy and can deal with the consequences, but his kids I am sure will have backlash and tire of defending him to others.

  4. Michael,

    Your experience with your daughter is heartening and your recommendation to parents well founded.

    My son and I have experienced sailing trips together where we were on a boat for a 4-5 day period. My daughter and I have had a couple experiences related to spending time together on our own attending hockey games and spending time together in Southern California.

    Both these circumstances allow parents and children to learn from each other and in particular give parents an opportunity to see what great people their children have become.

    I am please to have enjoyed this opportunity and endorse it for any parent.

    One on one time with your adult children enriches you and your child.


  5. I have had opportunities to spend time on the road with both my children. It is a fantastic experience and makes for some forever memories!

  6. You are indeed fortunate to afford such a trip. Spending time can also include an afternoon Monopoly Game; making pizza’s together; or attending your temple or church.

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