I recently watched a rerun episode of my favorite TV show, House. It’s truly the only show on television that I have the patience and eagerness left to watch. This episode in particular focused on a billionaire businessman and his sick son, which really provoked some serious thought.
This man fully believed that it was karma that was killing his child. This man was super lucky and super rich. When it came to business, everything he did was a success – everything except family life. This belief led him to sign away billions of dollars on a bogus deal, believing that if he did so, it would save his son’s life.
While of course, the notoriously sarcastic House, tried to assure him that his billions had nothing to do with his son’s health, it was ironic that after this man went bankrupt, House and his team were finally able to correctly diagnose and treat this child. As the man went broke, his son regained his health.
This show shook something within me, because I often feel in the realm of education and work, my gifts and talents, I’ve experienced a commendable level of success. I did well all throughout school and despite my teenage pregnancy (17 years ago), I was still able to graduate with a tie for the 10th place in the top 10. I went on to college and graduated with Honors, I’ve received awards and many other opportunities. But at what cost?
I’ve missed a great deal of time spent at home with my children. Sometimes it feels as if my two oldest have just sprouted into teenagers right before my eyes and my youngest is already four even though it feels as if he should still be a baby. No, their health isn’t in danger like the boy in the show, but I often feel like because my responsibilities with school and work, I’ve missed out on their time as kids – a stage that will never return.
I had a jarring thought about what I will do when my youngest gets to a stage when he finally leaves home. I wonder if I will be the lost “empty-nester” who won’t know what to do with herself.
Then I think about life had I made other choices – and then I come to the conclusion that because of the way the world works, I really didn’t have a choice at all. I could’ve stayed home – but at what cost on that end of the spectrum?
I have no choice but to put my faith in God that His plan for my life and then take the time to reflect and really take a moment think about what’s important.
Because of my kids and the time that I put into work, it definitely causes me to make more cautious financial decisions. If I can’t save enough to make a major purchase such as furniture or a car out right, then that means I’m not buying it, because more debt means more work to pay for it. More work may mean more success, but it means less time with my kids.
So call me crazy, but I think if I was in that guy’s shoes, I might’ve made the same choice. What about you? What’s more important? Riches and success or family?
What steps are you taking to ensure you’re not devoting all of your time chasing wealth and in the process missing out on those important once-in-a life time moments?
It’s important for me to continue taking steps towards gaining financial independence, but it’s not good to be so focused that I’m not taking out time to do something fun with the family. Everything can’t be planned ahead and sometimes there are those moments when I must make a choice between getting work done and spending impromptu time with the family.
Since balance is the key, I suggest asking some questions to help with the decision-making:
- Is it a seasonal or rare event that can’t be rescheduled? Visitors from out of town? People I haven’t seen in ages? If so, take some time, even if only a short time, to hang out with the family.
- Will I lose a ridiculous amount of money if I take time off? If so, I need to think of ways to cut expenses until a recovery of some sort can be made. Money can be recovered, people can’t
- Put it in perspective, in “life or death” terms: If one of us dies today, would I be happy with the amount of quality time spent? If the answer is no, then that’s a sign that I need to sacrifice a bit of financial security and take time to be with the family.
How do you make your choice between success and family? Would you trade your success and significant riches for a loved-one?
Kiesha is the author of WeBlogBetter and Highly Favored. She’s a technical Writer, former writing instructor, and internet marketing consultant for small business owners. If you’d like to know more, read her extended bio. Connect with her on Twitter and subscribe to her feed. Kiesha can also be found on FuelYourBlogging