In just about two weeks time, we will celebrate my daughter’s birthday. She is turning the big 1-0 and, until recently, she was looking forward to celebrating by inviting her friends to a puppy-themed party.
My daughter is a true puppy fanatic. She and her friends have made blankets to donate to the local shelter. When she’s not playing with her own dog, she uses her tablet or commandeers my phone or her mom’s computer to play puppy-themed video games. She owns a couple of robotic dogs and for her STEAM project last year, she and her best friend created a prototype for their own robotic puppy.
So naturally, on the most important days of her young life, she wants to be surrounded by both her human friends and her friends of the four-legged variety. She had a pirate-themed birthday party when she turned six. Every year since, however, puppies have ruled the (birth)day, and this year was to be no exception.
As you might imagine then, it came as quite a surprise when she began to hedge on the idea of yet another dog-themed party. Well, since her mom and I have made kind of big deal out of the fact that she was turning, ahem, DOUBLE DIGITS, maybe we shouldn’t have been that surprised when she wondered aloud whether or not a puppy party – complete with a faux puppy adoption fair – was too “babyish” for someone her age. Maybe, she thought, since the party was going to be at a water park, a hula theme would be more age appropriate?
So I pulled my sweet and earnest kiddo aside and told her a story about her great aunt, my godmother. When I was a kid, probably about my daughter’s age, one of my clearest memories of her house was how it was always covered in teddy bears. Sure, she had her share of the stuffed variety on her bed, couch, etc, but that barely (pun intended) scratched the surface of her bear obsession. Her kitchen wallpaper and the magnets on her fridge, her picture frames, calendars, mugs and even half her wardrobe – shirts, hats, you name it – were covered in bears. Indeed, the easiest and best gift for my godmother, a woman well into her forties at the time, was anything and everything with a teddy bear featured on it.
Now, my daughter has met my godmother. Even well into her seventies, she’s a terror on the tennis court. She still lives in the home she’s owned for over forty years. She travels all over the country visiting family. In short, my godmother is, pardon my French, a badass. And so when I asked my daughter if she thought that anyone believed her great aunt was a baby for surrounding herself with teddy bears, there was really only one correct answer.
And my daughter, like her great aunt, is becoming a badass in her own right. She’s a red belt in karate and well on her way to becoming a senpai to the younger students in her class. She also assists in her dance class, performs with her school chorus and is a total beast on the soccer pitch.
So, heck, if she wants to have a ninja puppy hula karaoke soccer dance party for her tenth birthday, then, by gosh, that’s what we’re going to have.
After all, human beings are emotional creatures and while we might think the best way to get them to buy what we’re selling is to cite facts, stats and features, the truth is that the heart wants what the heart wants. Don’t get me wrong, best practices are best for a reason, and we would be foolhardy to dismiss without first understanding them. But in business as in life, sometimes we need to listen to our heart as well as our head. Because at the end of the day, who can argue against puppies?