Work-Life Balance: It Determines How Your Kids Think Of You and Themselves

Posted: October 13, 2014 in Resources

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Story: Author Unknown
A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 12 year old son waiting for him at the door.

Son: “Daddy, may I ask you a question ?”

Dad: “Yeah, sure, what is it ?” replied the man.

Son: “Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

Dad: “That’s none of your business! What makes 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?” pleaded the little boy.

Dad: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”

Son: “Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed.
Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $50.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some 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’re being so selfish. I work long, hard hours every day and don’t have time for such childish games.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money.
After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. May be there was something he really needed to buy with that $50.00 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.

Dad: “Are you asleep son?” he asked.

Son: “No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

Dad: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man. “It’s been long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $50.00 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, beaming.

Son: “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled.

Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.
The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.

Dad: “Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled.

Son: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”

Work-Life Balance
It’s sad, but true. Our kids pay attention and begin to formalize priorities based on how we respond to what life throws at us. I know….I know….if you don’t work then your family would not be able to afford the “life-style” or “quality of life” that they have become accustomed to. But is that really what’s most important? Really…If they had to choose between having “stuff” or family, you may be surprised at their answer.

A couple Christmas’s ago, my 8 year old son was getting very excited about all of the toys that he would receive from family members (as most kids do). I asked him, “If you had to choose between all the toys in the store and playing with them alone or no toys and having fun just playing with family, which would you choose.” There was a long pause and a few questions, but eventually he landed on family over “plastic stuff”!

Challenge
I challenge you to ask this question to your kids. If they choose “plastic stuff” over family, you will know that you have some work to do. Relationships are priceless!

5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids

1. Create New Traditions: It does not have to be anything large or costly. Make Thursday’s Pizza Night (pick a local restaurant), go for a $1 ice cream at McDonalds after dinner one night a week, no technology night (you included) play board games instead, Cook dinner together and have them participate by setting table, actually eat dinner together!

Plan well and plan in advance. Whatever date you choose, DO NOT BREAK THE DATE! If you can not make a consistent day every week, plan at least 90 days in advance. Remember, traditions are built with consistency.

2. It’s Not About YOU! This means you may have to do something that you do not like. Like it, because they love it. Remember it is about spending time with them. It is about them inviting you into their world. You want to learn what they think about and why. Relationships are about self sacrifice and making other people happy.

3. Be Patient! . If you have spent years not connecting, just like any relationship, it will take time. Do not become impatient because they are “acting” like they do not want to be there. In reality, they may not appreciate the time spent until much later. Stay The Course! Understand that they may be hurt because they felt neglected. Invest the time it will take to repair the relationship.

4. Unplug! Yeah I said it….Turn the phone off! This means that EVERYONE must unplug and give undivided attention to what is the priority at this moment. Empower your team to make decisions. Take advantage of slow times at work. Just like you tell your family you must call them back because you are in a meeting, in that same way, you should make time for your family that can not be disturbed by work. Oh…this also includes unplugging from iPods, iPhones, iPads, Etc.

5. Talk! Relationships can not form without it. If It feels like forcing a square peg into a round whole, it is evidence of a neglectful past. Remember, you must be patient. Do some homework? Prepare questions to ask as conversation starters. Be sure that they are open ended questions. Be vulnerable! You were their age once. Allow them to ask you ANY question.

Create a question box, that they can put questions in throughout the week. They may feel on the spot and can’t think of any the day of. Tell them fun stories and life lessons from your childhood. Keep it short and not lecture. Either way, the goal is to get them to talk or talk about what is important to them.

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