During our lifetime, we become a part of so many different relationships. We interact with others from school, our jobs, businesses or travel. Many of these casual relationships have very short life-spans. However, too often we prioritize our time in these relationships ahead of the most important relationships one can have – those of our family and kids!
How many times have you been late or absent from a family dinner because work was more important? Or perhaps you missed your child’s ball game or school play because those events took a back seat to playing golf or attending a meeting with your clients, partners or suppliers? While “doing whatever it takes” to bring home the bacon seems like a justifiable excuse to put the family on a back-burner – it often leads to a lonelier and less satisfying family life.
It sometimes takes until you approach the end of your working career, before you figure all this out. By this time you begin to learn that all those individuals who seemed so important to you at one time, just about remember who you are now. It’s at this time that you realize the true importance of your family, but for many it’s just too late.
It’s much better to realize and understand how important your family and your kids are early in life, and to do everything possible to be there for them all along the way. So for all those younger parents who read this week’s lesson - today is the best day to begin making more time for the family and kids.
If I were to choose the year and activity that provided the most memorable and fulfilling times for me in the past two decades – it would have nothing to do with my business or personal success. Instead I would have to choose the season I was the head coach of a Little League team in 1988. On that specific team were two very important members – my first two sons. During this memorable season, I invested more time with my sons than any other time before or after. It was a seven day a week commitment of evening practices and games that I believe the three of us will remember forever. During this memorable time frame we won together; lost together; shared together; learned together; laughed together; were sad together; and just about did everything TOGETHER! These were moments that all the money in the world cannot buy or replace. And as a father, these were times that I am most proud of – as I made lots of quality time for my kids
The key word above in this week’s lesson is obviously – “together.” Without making your kids a HIGH priority during your “go-go” years of work – everyone gets slighted – especially YOU! You will miss the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives and well being of your family. Many parents seem to focus on providing comfort and material goods for their kids. However, in doing so they tend to work longer hours as they try to figure out how they are going to pay for all the extras they feel compelled to supply. Little do they realize that the consequence of the longer hours is slighting their children of one of the most important building blocks that kids need from their parents – “THEIR ATTENTION.”
When I was coaching Little League Baseball, there was a child on my team that had parents who never showed up for a game. This child would ride his bike to practice as well as the games. His skill level was the worse on the team and as a coach I was designated as his official baby sitter by his parents. I learned first hand from this experience that some parents just had no time to support their child’s interests. It’s a lose-lose situation for both parents and kids.
Thus, if you are in your go-go work years and find it difficult to make time for your kids – reconsider your priorities. Don’t wait until it’s too late and your kids are all grown up. I’ve known many wise senior citizens who have shared some of their greatest regrets in life with me. Most of the time they regret that they did not invest more time participating in the activities that were most important to their kids as they were growing up. Don’t become a victim of the same fate. Make more time for your kids beginning today and going forward. You’ll be happy you did!