Daddy, I hate your job!

When I was in my late 20’s I had a job that required me to travel 10 to 15 days a month. There was no way that I could be a good husband and father with that much travel. That was a critical developmental time for my son, Jeff, who was three at the time.

My absence put a lot of extra strain on Kim to be the sole parent. I would come home after having spent four or five days on the road, and just wanted to be with her and the kids. Understandably, she wanted and needed to “talk to big people.”

My work caused me to spend way too much time in isolation. The inner conflict, on one hand, of enjoying my work, being good at it, and being well paid…versus knowing that I was not spending nearly enough time with my family was taking its emotional toll on all of us.

In addition, I spent most of my evenings in airplanes, rental cars and hotel rooms. It was at that time when hotels were beginning to offer adult movies, and that could put me in a very bad place when I was hungry, angry, lonely and tired. This H.A.L.T. acronym is used in recovery groups to help make addicts aware of potential pitfalls of isolation.

Normally, when I would come home I would walk in the backdoor, and the kids would scream, “Daddy’s home!”, and then run and jump on me. Nothing could make me happier in those days. I also expect it happened because Kim probably prompting them to show me some love.

One day after returning home, I came in the back door, and I was greeted by Jeff. He had had a scowl on his face, and had his arms wrapped tightly around his chest. He said, “Daddy, I hate your job!” The effect of this stunned me causing me to go down on my knees. It took a three-year-old to show me that my priorities were really messed up.

The effect…I immediately started to search for work that allowed me to spend much more time at home. Within six months I left the previous employer and started my own one-man consulting company which allowed me to greatly reduce my travel schedule, and still use my natural strengths. God kept putting things in front of me that I needed to see, and it took a three-year old to deliver the message.

How are you handling this increased time of isolation? Early indicators are that many people have increased anxiety, isolation, and increased screen time that exposes us to all kinds of unhealthy material. Be smarter than I was back then. Reach out if you need help. Stay connected. Do more of what renews your spirit. Be the man (or woman) that God intended you to be today.

On an ancient wall in China, where a brooding buddha blinks, deeply graven is the message “It is later than you think.”

The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hand will stop at late or early hour.

Now is the time you own, the past is a golden link, do what’s most important now, It is later than you think. Unknown Author

The good thing about Jeff telling me he hated my job is that it gave me the whack in the head I needed to make a wise decision. Life is about choices!

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This blog is an edited excerpt from Tender Lions: Building the Vital Relationship Between Father and Son

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