A few times a year it’s good to sit back and think about things that truly matter. It’s not easy to sit back, relax and think. There’s always something else that needs to be done.
In fact, our culture tells us to keep busy, keep moving forward, buy buy buy and always strive for the newer, better, shinier thing. We can’t possibly relax or be happy with what we currently have. We need more. We need to be busy.
The pursuit of more means needing to constantly earn more and put ourselves in a better situation. While we do this we are trading time that we could be spending on more meaningful things. For example spending more time with our kids. Getting to know them and attending their events. Kids are only kids for so long. It’s all gone in a blink of an eye.
I’ve been stuck in the pattern that I have to do more and earn more. Always be prepared for the next job. It’s hard for me to shake. I justify it by saying this is all for my family. I’m providing for them and this is what needs to be done. But is getting the bigger, more time-consuming job what the family really wants or needs?
I haven’t performed a scientific study but I did pose the following questions to my oldest son: Would you rather I make more money and be able to buy more things but in return I’d spend less time at home? Or would you want me to make less money, buy less things but I’d always be home when you needed me?
He thought about it for less than a second. He said without a doubt making less money, buying less things but always being home was more important to him.
This is the person that oohs and aahs whenever we pass a Tesla or a huge house. Despite all of that, what in his heart he wants the most is for me to be there with him. He doesn’t care about the extra money, he wants me there to see all of his hockey and baseball games and attend all of the church and school functions.
Yes, he counts the number of presents under the tree at Christmas and on his birthday but after the glow of newness wears off he’s happy to have a dad who is physically present.
When I say present, it means having my full attention. Checking my phone when we’re together or giving him his tablet or a video game to keep him busy isn’t enough. He wants to have conversations, throw the baseball and wants me to be interested in what he’s interested in. He doesn’t care about my paycheck or job title. He doesn’t want work to consume me.
Our culture tells us to always be spending and doing. It says having one job isn’t enough, we need side hustles. The ones we love and care about – the ones we say we’re doing all of these jobs and side hustles for say otherwise. They want us to be present and engaged.