A few generations ago, a man captured the essence of this truth in some powerful words about the balance between home and career. When I read this good counsel written by Edgar Guest in My Job as a Father back in 1923, I can almost see the ghost of Solomon in the background, sadly nodding his head.
Read it and take heed. Guest wrote:
I have known of a number of wealthy men who were not successes as fathers. They made money rapidly; their factories were marvels of organization; their money investments were sound and made with excellent judgment, and their contributions to public service were useful and willingly made. All this took time and thought. At the finish there was a fortune on the one hand, and a worthless and dissolute son on the other. WHY? Too much time spent in making money implies too little time spent with the boy.
When these children were youngsters romping on the floor, if someone had come to any one of those fathers and offered him a million dollars for his lad he would have spurned the offer and kicked him out the door. Had someone offered him ten million dollars in cash for the privilege of making a drunkard out of his son, the answer would have been the same. Had someone offered to buy from him for a fortune the privilege of playing with the boy, of going on picnics and fishing trips and outings, and being with him a part of every day, he would have refused the proposition without giving it a second thought.
Yet that is exactly the bargain those men made, and which many men are still making. They are coining their lives into fortunes and automobile factories and great industries, but their boys are growing up as they may. These men probably will succeed in business; but they will be failures as fathers. To me it seems that a little less industry and a little more comradeship with the boy is more desirable.
Not so much of me in the bank, and more of me and of my best in the lad, is what I should like to have to show at the end of my career.
To be the father of a great son is what I should call success. ...This is what I conceive my job to be.