I wanted to share a lighthearted story about my childhood…
I grew up in Australia at the top of the Blue Mountains & my father worked in Coal Mines as an electrician a fair few hours away on the other side of the Blue Mountains.
My Dad was sometimes working for 2 weeks at a time, then would come home and have a week off. Sometimes it would be a week on & a week off. He would stay near his work during the weeks that he was working and come back to the mountains on his days off.
I would seriously look forward to when he came home, since I had to spend my after school hours with my mother & 3 younger sisters. You can imagine how feminine & painful that would have been. We also had a female cat & a female dog too, so lots of oestrogen going on around that time.
When Dad used to come home, he divided his time equally to all of us which meant that sometimes I didn’t always get a chance to have one on one time with him. As a young boy growing up, this was all I craved. I wanted adventure; to camp, learn how to drive, climb a mountain, fix my bike, hammer a nail, go bush walking, play sports etc, and I wanted to do it a lot, not every now and then, but a lot. When we got to do these sorts of things together, I felt alive, like I was living with purpose & passion.
Like every boy, you look up to your father. Our Dads teach us all the cool stuff there is to explore in this world.
I used to hound him when he got home to go do something cool & most of the time we would end up doing it, but there were a few other times that things weren’t suited for him to go out for hours on end because of commitments at home or other duties. This was when those thoughts of rejection crept in. Not rejection as in someone doesn’t like you, but the rejection that can’t be anticipated due to changing circumstances. You sit there and think, “stuff this, this sucks, all because he has to do blah blah”.
It nearly always had to do with him having limited time to do everything that he had too. He was doing the best he could at the time under the circumstances.
I made up my mind, around this time, that I was going to choose a difference profession or career, one that enabled me to be there for my kids, all of the time.
Working in the Coal Mines is a tough job. You are doing 12 hour shifts, trudging through mud and water all day long. You’re in complete darkness from being underground all the time. Sometimes they have to work 7pm – 7am – they call it dog watch. Its tough on the body, its tough on the mind. I don’t know how anyone does it, but the money is what speaks & they get paid well because of what they are doing.
Now I’m not sitting here sulking because I was rejected all my childhood, far from it. I feel very blessed for what opportunities and experiences I had. What I am saying is that if you’re trying to avoid this same scenario or get out of the situation you’re in because you are spending more time with your work colleagues than your kids, then something needs to change.
I only wish my dad chose a different career path so I could have spent more time with him. The value I place on “time with family” is very high on the value scale these days which is why I chose the path I’ve been on and going on.
One of the greatest privileges I have nowadays is the ability to wake up & spend hours with my kids, making them breakfast, working with them in the nursery, taking Finn on his motorbike, sitting with Tirzah while she watches the sheep, jumping on the trampoline with them, lighting fires, kicking the soccer ball, hitting the golf balls, doing it altogether. This has only been possible because I worked hard to create a lifestyle type of career. A career that was based around my schedule, not some rich boss or managers schedule. One that allowed me to spend more time with my family but also allowed us to have our needs met.
It doesn’t take much to live a comfortable life these days but it comes down to “Why” you are doing what you do. Why are you working all these hours to make someone else financially happy? Why are you slaving away for extra hours for less that what you should be paid for? Does your boss or manager value you? I bet they are in the same situation as you & want to be somewhere else but the office, probably home with their kids too.
I’d be interested to hear your perspective.
Chris Samios (Laptop Lifestyle Shepherd)