I chose my family.
An easy choice to make, right? But it is not always easy. Although we intellectually know that when it comes to choosing between work and family, we should almost always choose family. We know that, and yet so many of us fail to practice it.
I’m not putting myself above anyone else. Sometimes I too make the mistake of choosing my work over my family. You can read my previous post where I talk about my ego and my son. That is one example of many. But just because we screwed up a few times, it doesn’t mean that we should give up.
That is, again, a choice that we make. We choose to give up and accept the fact that we are not good parents to our kids. That is a choice. Alternatively, we can keep on pushing ourselves to try again and again and again. It is a never ending journey of trying to become better and better with each experience.
The journey is not a straight line like many of us think it is.
The journey is a squiggly line that goes all over the place. There is one good news though, we choose the step we take next. When it comes to our family, the next steps that we choose could mean the making or the breaking of our family.
I made a conscious intention way back in the beginning of my marriage (and even before that is you remember the letter I wrote to myself) to invest my time, energy, and money into my family. Although on my budget sheet I may write it as an expense, but in my mind I consider it as an investment.
So whenever I spend for my family, I don’t think of it as money going out of my pocket and disappearing forever – like buying a t-shirt. I think of it as money going out of my pocket and into the investment that will grow with time. When I invest in my family, I don’t focus too much on the money that is decreasing.
I focus more on the value that is increasing. This stems from a core idea of what happiness entails. It is not the accumulation of material wealth or achievements. Happiness exists is those meaningful moments that are nurtured and shared.
Those moments that you fill your memory bank with as sweet memories and you go back to those memories time and time again to remind yourself of the fondness that exist at home. Those moments will be planted into my children and they will create core concepts of who they are and of life in general.
I invest a lot in those moments because I know how impactful they can be to shape my children for their future. Those moments will create a strong sense of self in them to enable them to face life challenges. Knowing that they have that tool inside of them make me feel a bit at ease because I can’t always be there for them.
I invest in my family to prepare them for my absence.
For me, the mark of a great husband and father is how well he prepare his family to be confident and independent. I invest in those meaningful moments in the hopes that when I’m gone, they can keep moving forward. I remember one of the lines in Black Panther (2018) where T’Challa went to the spiritual realm to meet his deceased father, T’Chaka.
They had a meaningful father and son moment.
When T’Challa got chocked up and expressed not knowing how to live without his father by his side, his father gave him this gem, “A man who has not prepared his child for his own death has failed as a father. Have I ever failed you?”
As a father to two sons, that one hits me hard. My role goes beyond just being the family’s ATM. I am my family’s pillar, but I don’t want them to lean on me forever. I want to teach them and nurture them to become their own pillar, so that when I am gone, the house still stands.
That’s my investment.