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Diana Mardare - The vital source of inspiration and growth of a lawyer

Author: Diana Mardare

It was the summer of '97, I was almost 11 years old and, as a child raised in Moldova, I often went to church. So the question arose: Why did God make people? What is the purpose of humans? To be perfect, obviously!

Immediately afterwards, I wondered what a perfect human being must be like to fulfill God's purpose. I quickly concluded that man's perfection is to remain a child.

Why? Because a child is pure, because it loves, because it forces no harm, because it errs from ignorance, because all it wants is to discover the world by searching ceaselessly.

The years have passed and perfection is dissipating with each loss of these traits. They were gone before I reached adolescence, except for one of them: curiosity.

Curiosity drove me to go off on my own, at 7, to another city by bus, inventing that I was going to my grandmother's house. To go down into the basement of buildings, to climb on the roof of the block and throw bags of water or to run away on willow branches over the Bistrita river. Later in life, I would understand that at 10, 16, 18, 26, but especially at 35, this was the creed of my life that unconsciously guided me through the good and bad years.

When I was 19, I went to university in Bucharest and not in Iasi because I had heard on TV that the famous Bamboo club had burned to the ground, that someone had set a fire on purpose, but that the owners claimed it was natural causes. I was intrigued to find out why the owners didn't want to find out if someone really set the fire...

At 24, after two failed attempts, I passed the bar. 

That's also because I'd learned self-defense very well from OTV, which had been showing and studying the same case for months at 11pm in the evenings, when young people don't sleep.

To be completely honest, it wasn't curiosity that made me choose the legal profession, it was my mother, who told me I should not starve. But curiosity kept me in this profession and pushed me to discover new areas of law, to experience different things.

At 27 I became a mother for the first time. 

By the time my eldest boy was about 4 years old, I had read all the parenting "case law", I had spent nights on mommy groups, I had gone through course after course on how to be a good mom, I was going to therapy. I had moved to Oxford in search of exceptional parenting systems and had almost gone into depression because I didn't understand and failed to love my children unconditionally. After about 5 years of raising two kids, I decided I was a great mom when I wasn't seriously committing. I anchored myself in the words of my friend, Oana, who said: "Diana, each of us deserves therapy in life".

So, understanding that I was experimenting on them and myself, I let my guard down and decided to let them show me. They ask a lot, and I talk a lot. I ask a lot and they talk a lot. I let them explore, they force me to climb, and so the 3 of us grow, discovering the world and ourselves.

Curiosity is a great parenting method for both parents and children. Ask your children what they've drawn there and you'll discover a whole world of just you and them. A trivial moment of curiosity boosts our children's self-esteem and feeds their need to connect.

When they grow up and don't feel like answering the question "what did you draw there?" you can tell them what you were doing in front of the block 30 years ago and you'll be surprised how their eyes will twinkle and they'll ask questions. When you don't feel like lecturing them about life, you can ask them directly what they would do and you'll discover some incredible insights.

My eldest boy Stefan's curiosity about my profession has constantly manifested itself and evolved from "my mom is an avocado"

From "my mum's a bureaucrat" (because I went to the office every day) De la „mama mea e biroueasa” (pentru ca mergeam zilnic la birou) to asking me curious this year: Mommy, why did you choose this job? It's really hard! I replied, "I honestly don't know!" "Well, why don't you do something else?" "Because we need money to eat, to travel, because I learned a lot, I worked hard and because I can't take on other schools and studies at this age".

Stefan weighed a little and then said, like a grown man, "Mummy, but for this you can do uber, for this you don't need another school!"

His honest, curious and open manner proved a perfect mechanism for extracting the problem from context and identifying solutions through simplification. And that even without years of studying... ☺

Curiosity was the first thing that pushed me to search, discover and understand that personal and professional relationships between people can be different.

At the age of 35 I was managing for the first time a team of 10 people in the consulting department of a prestigious law firm.

As a coordinating lawyer, I am aware that there is a limit to what I can pass on to the trainees I mentor, both in terms of information and experience, especially since today we all have almost instant access to legal texts, treatises and scholarly articles.

One feature that has worked well for almost all interns is that I invite them into my office and give them the opportunity to contribute and actively participate in everything I do. They can ask anything from "Who did you speak to?" "What does the client actually want to build?" "Can I do that?"

They have access to direct discussions with clients, to case debates, to the organization of days, to areas of law that are different from those at university, and so their interest in the profession increases. They feel free, seen and gain courage to learn about what it means to be a consulting lawyer. One that does more than review contracts, one that does good work.

I mix their curiosity with moral and sound principles and so they learn about how to do things well and right before we need to represent our clients in court.

I've already told you about the last piece of advice I received from Stefan, in which he suggested I reinvent myself professionally... I didn't start with Uber, but he managed to reactivate in my soul the desire to discover other ways of practicing this profession. The children's curiosity almost always makes me look at life from a different angle, no longer taking myself so seriously, but paying attention to what I do for others. And that helps me to do personal and professional things much better and with more meaning.

I have written and deleted this speech 6 times, I felt there was nothing special about me or my life that I could share with you. Then, I realized that curiosity is quite possibly the one thing we might all have in common, here and at home. And that is special!

Human beings have a natural desire and inherent power to know things. Look deep within yourself and you will easily find it! With it you can conquer the world and yourself!

It is the first train that can take you to the wisdom of this world and that stops at all stations.

Stay well, stay curious...

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