The greatest gift my father ever gave me was his time. This may seem trivial and as as a young boy, I couldn't really comprehend the significance then. But as a man with kids of his own, only now can I start to appreciate the effort and love that my dad put into spending time with my brother and me.
Growing up, my father would constantly involve us in whatever projects he may have been working on. From shoveling gravel in the driveway, to fixing machinery, he always found a way to put us to work. At the time, it just felt like doing chores and more of a punishment than a privilege. On occasion, I would even get to go "help" him out on a job site, assisting in whatever manual labor he needed to finish up on the weekend.
And while I never disliked getting to hang out with him, I always wondered why we couldn't do something more enjoyable. What I couldn't understand then, was that bringing me along was his way of providing for us and spending time together. That in fact, having a child to a construction site was actually more of a hindrance than a help, but it was a sacrifice he was gladly willing to make. Because the alternative meant not having time together, and for him, that far outweighed the imposition. The funny thing is, that I actually remember the time we spent working far better than when we actually were doing fun activities. Go figure.
People often wonder about the best way to find balance between work and family life. Personally, I think the idea of perfect a balance is a myth. Because in order to be balanced, you have to hold a static position, which is to be still. But life is in perpetual motion and the pendulum will continue to sway until it stops for good. The key then, is to make sure that however far it swings in one direction, we allow it to go equally far in the other, know that it will only be perfectly centered for a brief moment.
Now that I have children of my own, I find myself in a similar situation where I must juggle the things that have to get done, and the time I need to spend together with my kids. Thankfully, I have been given a great template to follow in order to squeeze in some extra moments with my little ones.
The most precious thing we can give someone is our time, because it is finite and something we can never get back. So whenever I can, I try to incorporate my daughter and son in whatever I'm doing. It's not ideal and it's certainly not convenient, but to me it's worth it to me and hopefully one day when they are grown, they'll realize it was worth it to them too.
Comments will be approved before showing up.