It seems like it’s axiomatic that if you are successful in your career that it will come at the expense of your family life. We are frequently told of highly successful individuals who walk away from their career in order to devote more time to their families. The unspoken message is that it is impossible to do both at the same time.
I have certainly heard many people speak with great regret about actually losing their families because they neglected them while pursuing their dream of a career. And adults have related to me their bitterness toward a parent that neglected them as a child because of the demands of their job.
But it really doesn’t have to be that way; doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition.
One of the oldest stories in the Bible is of the man Job. We are all familiar with the story of his great suffering. But there is an important point to be gleaned from the fact that he is described as both a successful business man (extremely wealthy) and as someone extremely devoted to his family (he regularly offered sacrifices to God on their behalf).
What it takes to make it work is balance achieved through proper priorities.
Gordon MacDonald wrote a book forty years ago titled Ordering Your Private World. It is about achieving balance in living. MacDonald suggests our life is divided into five parts: Motivation, Use of Time, Wisdom and Knowledge, Spiritual Strength, Restoration. If we spend too much time in one area or if we neglect any area, our lives will be out of balance and cause us problems.
It is a skewed life that causes successful people to lose their families, not their success.
Dr. Paul Faulkner wrote a book titled Achieving Success Without Failing Your Family. The book is the result of interviews he did with thirty couples and their children. These thirty couples had achieved great success in the business world while also maintaining a close-knit family.
Dr. Faulkner identified the following principles that guided these parents:
- Parenting on purpose
- Instilling values
- Loving and adoring their children
- Being a servant (leading from the foot of the table)
- Giving the gift of laughter
- Being transparent (communicating openly and honestly)
- Holding them tight and then turning them loose
- Coping positively with tragedy and failure
No matter what stage you are in in raising your family these two books will be very helpful to you.