Why I Code

It was mid-June 2011 in Texas. I had just been released from Active Duty for the Army and was on my way to pick up my then 3-year-old son, Davin, from daycare.

I pulled into the parking lot, hopped out of my car and headed toward the front door of the daycare. I remember feeling the heat hit my face as I strode across the parking lot.

It was hot… but it was a beautiful summer day. Not at all like what I was about to discover inside the daycare.

Why I Code

I made my way across the parking lot and in the front door to the receptionist’s desk. No one was there.

As I looked around, I heard what sounded like a faint yelling sound from around the corner. Instinctively, I moved toward the sound.

As I hurried down the hallway, the yelling got louder…

“Is this how you behave? Like animals? You are a bunch of monsters! You guys better start acting right or you’ll have hell to pay!”

As I got closer to the sound, I realized, “It’s coming from Davin’s room!”

Now angry, I swung open the door to his room. The room fell silent as everybody turned toward the door.

I saw the receptionist. Her face immediately turned bright red.

“Where’s his teacher?” I asked angrily.

“She called in sick today”, she said meekly.

“Davin, let’s go”, I said as I stepped away from the door. The receptionist hurried by me and back down the hallway to her desk.

Davin gathered his things and we headed down the hallway toward the front door.

When I reached the receptionist’s desk, she was typing frantically at her computer. I noticed she was typing an email to someone… the owners of the daycare I assumed.

“While you’re at it on that email… you can tell them that Davin will no longer be coming to daycare here. And, I won’t be giving a 2-week notice and I won’t be paying any termination fee. If they have a problem with that, then I’d be more than happy make this whole incident a public event”.

She said nothing.

Davin and I left the daycare and never went back. We never heard from them again.

The Moment I Realized Why I Code…

Davin had only gone to that daycare for a few months… but over the last few weeks I had noticed a change in his attitude. He had become a lot more irritable and grumpy. He became very demanding and had began yelling for the first time in his life.

Something had seemed off to me… that day in mid-June I figured out what.

From that day forward, I watched Davin at home. For most people, that would have been impossible. Most people would have been forced to find another daycare… and hoped the same things didn’t happen. They would have been helpless.

But, I code for a living.

I have the luxury of working from home and setting my own schedule.

And, that’s why I code…

I code for Davin. Regardless of your beliefs on parenting… the fact that I code for a living meant I could do something when a daycare went against mine. I didn’t need them. And, I got the added benefit of spending a lot more time with him (and all my other children)… which was good for both him and I.

I code to express myself. Coding is like any other artistic endeavor (Yes! Coding is an art!)… to be good it requires perspective, passion, and persistence. It is more a reflection of its writer than any hard fast “coding rules”. I code to find out who I am as a coder as much as anything else.

I code to learn. I’ve always believed and said the most important skill a coder can possess and facilitated within themselves is the ability to mentally abstract. There is a direct correlation between a coder’s “mental abstraction skill level” and the value of his code. I code to get better at coding… but I code to get better at thinking, as well.

I  couldn’t imagine not coding. It’s like a writer writing or a painter painting… it’s who I am. But, at the end of the day… it’s more than that. I don’t just code for me. I code so I never have to put my family in a position where they (or I) feel helpless.

And, I write all this because I think it’s important to remember when you’re feeling overwhelmed or un-motivated… why you’re here. So…

Question: Why do you code?

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John Morris

JOHN MORRIS

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