With the constant teeter totter of competing interests for your time, when do you jump off the seesaw? Do you remember watching kids plop to the ground as someone decided they were going to be funny and jump off of the seesaw? I do. I can see a little boy surprised and hurt that his seesaw partner would bolt away from the seesaw with total disregard of his buddy slamming into the ground. When I think about that little boy today, I think about my sons. Am I jumping off the teeter totter allowing them to slam into the ground unaware and unprepared for the aftershock? When I think about this analogy I think it fits my personal situation. There was a period of time in my life when I worked six days a week because I was infatuated with the idea of climbing the corporate ladder. There were times I put Saturday work over kids sporting events and birthday parties and other important family gatherings. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do that, I’m saying for me, I could have made different choices.
There will be plenty of times we miss moments. It’s going to happen, but how many moments do we want to miss? We are bombarded by culture telling us that we must put work ahead of our family. Case in point…Have you seen the DayQuil commercial selling the idea that “Dad’s don’t take sick days”? Click above if you haven’t. The commercial shows a little boy in his crib. Obviously, we still need to take care of our children, but the marketing sends a message to CEO’s, Managers, and Bosses that their employees don’t need to take the day off. Not to mention it sends the message to Dads that they can’t take the day off because they’ll lose their job, or lose a promotion, or whatever other idea is in his head. We are not robots and machines. We need a break. We get sick. Their are things in our lives more important than just making money. While we have goals and dreams that we want to accomplish, we need to determine what priorities come first. I would argue that we can work hard and take necessary time off to be with our families.
From an eternal perspective, we are not going to take our work with us. To quote Bill Hybels, “Who is going to be with you in the hospital room surrounding your bed?”. We weren’t created to live a life of acquiring things. On top of it, they are things that really have no value. What does have value is the fishing trip you went on with your boys. Or, the Cheer-leading competition you attended all weekend with your daughters. When I die, these are the things I want to think about. I want to know that my time was well spent with the people who matter most to me.
You have a choice to balance the see-saw in a way that is appropriate for your situation. There are seasons of life where you will have to work more. There are seasons of life when you shouldn’t work more. You need to recognize the difference and make the best choice for you and your family. You have the power to request more from your employer. You have the choice to make a career change. You have the ability to do what is necessary for your family, your mental health, and your future.
We all have the same choices. When we decide we are going to place more value on people than on things, then we can change the way society views work and what it truly means to produce. I want to produce the best world citizens I can. I want to produce men of God who are dedicated to living a life of helping and loving other people. Do we want to produce angry, hurt individuals who were caught off guard by the sudden slamming of the teeter-totter? Or, do we want to use the time we have to build into those around us?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
President & CEO
High Five Financial