Monday, April 14, 2014

Who Knows Where The Road Leads?

I don't want to be Sicily's momager.

I can't remember who (chime in if it was you) who just last weekend asked me if I was going to go all Kardashian with tiny house publicity. I shudder at the thought.


What is the tiny house and all the publicity for? Truly, the achievement of the house is its own reward. Should we push for more? Already La has been asked to design and build houses for other people (some serious, some in jest). She has many interviews under her belt, some TV, and a recent newspaper article. People want her to run workshops to teach other kids how to build. They are interested in what she has done.

On a side note, there is a serious educational philosophy behind this house, so if anyone is interested in that, the driving force behind how this house actually came to fruition, do contact me.

A momager would force the issue and say yes to everything. A momager would relentlessly promote and pursue to the exclusion of all else.

I am not sure that's what Sicily wants. I am not sure that's not what Sicily wants.

It is hard to determine how far is too far. Can we tell the story without exploiting the story? On Wednesday it will be 14 months since Dane died. The building of the house is part of Dane, but it also represents persistence and moving forward. How many times can she say she misses her dad in a different format?

So I guess the question is: what's the next step?

Stuart Orford via Flickr


  1. Okay, so stay with me on this one.

    First of all, I don't think you possess the selfish drive it would take to become a Momager. But nonetheless you are a mom and part of that duty is to guide your child into territories unknown by her with challenges that may seem uninteresting or even daunting. That does not or should not waver her necessity of a mom. Just like you would encourage her to finish the softball season even if she grew tired of it this project must too finish strong.

    From what I have gathered since meeting Sicily is that the tiny house is not and never was intended to be just a project of determination and construction skill. It was a project that - as she put it herself - would give her independence. It would allow her to "be free of my parents." As she moved from bubble plans to blueprints to obtaining materials and then building the one thing she noted was that nothing can be done (or perhaps should be done) completely alone. There is great dependence when living in this modern world. So why then would a tiny house builder want to build their won house, escape the world, disappear, and make no effort to help others discover the very freedom they set out for in the first place?

    The knowledge that La gained during the build - whether she cares to hear this or not - is not knowledge she should keep to herself. Dane was willing to invest time, energy, and skill into her. You invest time, energy, skill, and resources into her. EcoFoil invested resource into her. And the list goes on. So why deny that same investment to others? Does she have to become the next Jay Shafer? Absolutely not. And neither should she be. But should she invest her experience into other people her age to allow them to see what is possible even at the age of 13? Absolutely! Should she sell her plans or feel the need to design more? No. Absolutely not. But should she now "pay it forward" to others the way so much was paid forward to her? I think so. But if I remember her age I would not have found the above arguments compelling at all. Had my folks talked to me about it though perhaps it would have been different.

    So should you be a Momager? No way. Should you take this project, continue to develop the educational philosophy and share it with other educators? I offer an emphatic YES! Should La tell her story? Yes. Should she exploit it? No. In fact, at this point the story begins to change. I say this with love and sensitivity but Dane is only a small chapter of the story now. He is no longer the story itself. La found a drive inside of her that extended beyond Dane, you, me, the tiny house community, etc. So now a NEW story begins and I think as a Mom you should try to help her realize that it is now HER story and she has a choice: share it or end it. Let the story continue to be written or just close the book and become a footnote in the movement. I would hate to see that though because it is people like La who have a God given gifting to change the course of our world one project at a time!

  2. " I say this with love and sensitivity but Dane is only a small chapter of the story now. He is no longer the story itself. La found a drive inside of her that extended beyond Dane, you, me, the tiny house community, etc."

    You put into words what I am not sure people are ready to hear me say. Thank you.

    I am going to share this with La and see what she says. We are both of us trying to figure out what to do next, and this is food for thought.

  3. I went through this publicity game when I built the housetruck. It ranged from local newspaper/TV coverage, to being part of tiny-home tours/shows, to a web episode of Portlandia (google 'portlandia housetruck'), to requests from HGTV and their ilk to show off my 'extreme RV' (blechhh). Most of it was fun, and worth the time & energy I spent, as long as I didn't take it very seriously, and as long as I didn't let it rule my life.

    But in the long run, the most fulfilling experiences were those with individual people -- people who came away from the housetruck with a glints of inspiration shining from their eyes. Even if they were inspired to build something else entirely, that's what made it all worthwhile.

    Now I'm kind of looking forward to having the housetruck live quietly in the apple orchard, exposed mostly to the eyes of deer and wild turkeys, who ask far fewer silly questions.