Finding Balance In An Unbalanced Work Place

Recently I have a young father who came to talk about finding the right balance between work and his young family. This blog is dedicated to everyone who struggles to find this balance between making a living and making a life for your family.

Are you finding the right balance?

Scott Williams shared this story recently on his website that set the right tone for finding that balance with your family and your job.

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

  • SON: ‘Daddy, may I ask you a question?’
  • DAD: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the man.
  • SON: ‘Daddy, how much do you make an hour?’
  • DAD: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the man said angrily.
  • SON: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’
  • DAD: ‘If you must know, I make $50 an hour.’
  • SON: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down.
  • SON: ‘Daddy, may I please borrow $25?’

The father was furious, ‘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 man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door. ‘Are you asleep, son?’ He asked. ‘No daddy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy. ‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the man ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.’

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you daddy!’ He yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man 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 father. ‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the father grumbled. Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied. ‘Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.’

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness. It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time s lip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $50 worth of your time with someone you love.

Some tips for finding the right balance

1. Always start by making decisions with this question “Who is going to be at your funeral?” – I have always tried to place God, family and work in that order when making decisions on my time.
2. The refrigerator calendar – young families are active so placing a calendar on the refrigerator and ask everyone to make sure their events are on it can avoid last minute panic. It also gives you the opportunity to place family time in there before lower priority items demand the attention of everyone.
3. Vacation time – this is one I struggle with over the years – answering work related email on vacation. Smart phones make it so easy to stay engaged but your family knows when you become distracted. Make it a family vacation…
4. Email – many of us feel driven to tackle email 24-7 at home. Finding the time to respond is a discipline that we all should consider the impact of time we are missing with our families in the next room.

What advice would you offer this father?

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