“No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” (Unknown). We live in times whereby many of us have become so busy such that we have even becomes strangers to our families.
The challenge in many of the writings is that very little emphasis is placed on the importance of having quality time with our family. We set goals every year, but why don’t we set goals like, “To be the greatest husband or wife to my family in 2021, to spend more quality time with my family”. The majority of many people’s goals are only financially related.
Do not be a successful person at work, and a failure at home. Strive for a balance. We spent hours working for the family, only to lose them from neglect.
Certain parents wake up before their children are up, and come back. This week I will share some thoughts from a story which moved me.
Never be busy for your family: Tale of one parent
A story is often told of a certain mother who was always busy with work. She came back one day from work late, tired and irritated, to find her 5-year old son waiting for her at the door.
SON: “Mummy, May I ask you a question?”
MUM: “Yeah sure, what it is?” replied the woman.
SON: “Mummy, how much do you make an hour?”
MUM: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the woman said angrily.
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
MUM: “If you must know, I make $50,00 an hour.”
SON: “Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: “Mummy, may I please borrow $25,00?”
The mother was so incensed, “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed.
“Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard every day for such childish frivolities.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The mother sat down and allowed her anger at the little boy to gather momentum.
The source of course was the little boy’s incessant request for money. The woman sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions.
With the passing of an hour, the woman gathered herself up, and realised that there might be a genuine call which justified the request for $25,00. The son was not the type which would always ask for money.
The woman went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.
“Are you asleep, son?” She asked.
“No Mummy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.
“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the woman.
“It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25,00 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you Mummy!” he yelled.
Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled-up bills. The woman saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.
The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his mother.
“Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the mother asked angrily.
“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
“Mummy, I have $50,00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?
“Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”
The mother was crushed. She put his arms around her little son, and she begged for his forgiveness.
Do not lose your loved ones in the name of working “hard”
We all want to live, and possibly have a good life. Sometimes the amounts of time we put to this end, causes us to lose the very people we need in our lives to celebrate our success.
I am not in any way discouraging people from working hard, I am challenging you to take charge of your time, and strike a balance between family and work. Time is money, we all agree, but why don’t you commit the same resource to developing your family.
The reality which many people don’t want to hear is that if you die today, there will be two or three advertisements to replace your position at work. In short, you are replaceable! There will never be your replacement in your family, the people who will experience the depth of grief and sorrow is your family. We are not immortals let’s face it.
The few years that we are on the planet, have to add meaningful value to our families first.
Jim Rohn once said that, “Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.”
Money is not everything
The mistake many people who have money make is to think that it will cover anything. Money will not hug your child when he or she needs one.
Paying schools is simply part of the duty as a parent; otherwise who do you expect to do that for you. Giving your children pocket money does not absolve you from your duty to create time.
Do not leave the parenting of your children to DSTV, Netflix or the internet. Some of the people do not even know what they are children are watching on television or “googling” on the internet.
Sometimes you might actually be the one who is sponsoring the internet dating and surfing of pornography on the internet by simply paying for these services without being involved in their use. Get involved in the life of your family.
If you do not do that, someone will do that for you, and will achieve his or her agenda through them.
Create opportunities for connection
Thank God for technology, Whatsapp, Viber, Skype, short message service. There are several opportunities to connect and communicate with family.
Just one “I love you message” to your daughter may protect her from falling into the hands of an abusive man in the search for “love”. Just one message of affirmation to your son may save him from joining a gang in the quest for appreciation and validation. Why don’t you create a family WhatsApp, Viber group, where you get to connect more, and more with your family? You can never be busy for a single message. There are certain people, who are always online on WhatsApp, and they will not be talking to their spouses, or children, you clearly wonder who they are talking to.
Strive for a balance
Your work needs you, but your family needs you more. Make it a goal this remainder of the year to effectively use the remaining time with your family.
Strive for a balance. It might not be easy, but you have to do it. A dysfunctional family will follow you to your workplace.
There is no point in being a hero or heroine to the outside world while you are a villain to your own family. Pastors, have saved other people’s children and lost their own children due to neglect, professional counsellors even do the same.
Do not hide your family values to your employer. They have to know that you respect family, and you have a family which needs you too. Maximise on your time during working hours, such that you are able to leave on time and be with your family.
You cannot justify incompetence in the name of rushing to be with your family. You are not paid for your absence; you are paid for the value that your presence brings.
Take advantage of the soon coming festive season to spend more quality with your family. You do not need an exceptional budget to have quality time; you need to use what you have.
Remember, money is not everything!
Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote and peak performance speaker, business strategy facilitator commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. He is a financial wellness expert and is passionate about addressing the issues of wellness, sales, business leadership and strategy. Arthur is the author of the “Personal Development Toolkit”, “Keys to Effective Time Management” among other inspirational books. Follow him on social media, or WhatsApp him on +263718867255 or email [email protected]