|Last night, I got this idea to create a Gmail account for my 15 month old son, and start emailing him daily about "things". Let me explain.|
Especially the last four months, my son has been a lot of fun for us. Everyday he has been learning new things and making us smile with a new peculiarity he develops. My wife and I point these things to each other and talk about these. But, I always wanted to find a way to document them.
I thought of documenting these into a text file in my laptop. Although I use Emacs extensively and I do a lot of writing, I never got myself to write about my son. I guess that failed because it felt too impersonal and mechanistic. It felt like a scientist writing about a subject.
I thought of having a blog for the baby, but that felt too pretentious. I wouldn't want the blog to be open to public. I am not doing this to show off to other people. Then, who is the audience?
The audience is my son. By addressing my writing to him, now I suddenly have more incentive to write about him. The email is also the perfect medium for this. I will be sending him emails daily, which he can read when he grows up. Email is informal, so it is much easier to write emails than more formal letters, articles, or blogs. Finally, Gmail will be doing all the safe-storing, timestamping, and indexing for us automatically.
My wife loved the idea. She will also be doing this everyday. Since we will both be doing it, chances are we will support each other to keep sustain the practice. I hope to continue this until at least my son is 5 years old. I think this will also serve as an excuse of a diary. I hope when my son reads these he will have a window into our souls.
I wish I had thought of this or heard of this earlier. (I am sure somebody must have thought of this earlier, but my google searches do not return anything.) Anyways, the reason I am posting this to HN is twofolds. If you are a parent, you might also want to start trying this for your toddler. Or, maybe you may think about a creative service to cultivate this practice. For example, you may provide an application that downloads the accumulated emails and puts them together as a pdf, and even orders them to be printed as a book that the parents can give as a gift to the child. Another service might be to deliver these emails to the child daily: this is what your parents wrote about you this day in 2009--2014. Another idea would be to data-mine the child's developmental and health history from these accounts for medical and statistical purposes.