Some time back I listened to a 5 years old girl praying for her father’s business and the prayer was something like this, “O GOD thank you for this day. Thank you that daddy has a good business but GOD there are some people who are disturbing daddy because they are not coming to work on time and they are making customers go away. O GOD help daddy get good people who will not disturb him and that he is happy and that he can make a lot of money so that we can go to Mombasa. In JESUS name AMEN”
Truthfully, I was amazed at the innocence of that prayer not to mention its sincerity. Clearly, here was a child whose father had introduced her to his start up in the service industry. She had also heard from the father that he was having staffing problems. But more interestingly is how easy the chain was connected to a holiday at the coastal city of Mombasa.
I learnt that the same girl had been exposed to the corporate environment by her mother who was working for a multinational at a mid-level manager position. This exposure included mother taking the daughter with her on Saturdays.
Over time, the young girl noticed that her father was the one doing most stuff with her including taking her to hospital when she was unwell. Whenever she needed mummy around, she could not get her at short notice and mummy always told her (which was true), that she needed to borrow permission from her boss.
Soon enough this answer began informing the little girl’s prayer: “O GOD, please help mummy’s job to change so that she does not work very far from home and she does not need permission to be with me and that we can be going to many places with her and daddy.”
I recount this experience to reiterate several important issues
1/ We have a responsibility to shape our children’s lives with the right exposure. Let us not get caught up in a rat race that never ends and still recruit our children to the same blindly.
2/ Sometimes it is very much okay to expose our lives to our children. With guidance, we can explain to them how to maneuver through life and avoid some of our own mistakes.
3/ We have to choose and make time for what is important even in the attempts we make to provide for our families. No matter the sacrifice. I doubt whether at anyone’s 50th birthday or 25th marriage anniversary part of the speech will be “my spouse/ our daddy has been employee of the month 10 times since he was employed”.
4/ The traditional lifestyle is for husbands to be the ones going to an office and providing a stable income while the wife either stays at home with the children or tries her hand at businesses that offer her flexible time and some income. This is changing and is not necessarily the norm. In the new setting where the husband maybe the one on the flexi time, it is important that business does not take the helm. Rather the positive influence of a father on his children; instilling the family values, showing the children how to pray, and not forgetting that he has to help his children discover their gifts, talents and abilities. This will be followed by him exploring opportunities to grow the potential.
I am a strong believer in self employment and business ownership as it removes the aspect of borrowing permission to be with your family during the traditional work hours. That said, I also appreciate that not all persons can be business owners or self employed. In that case, it is imperative to set a routine that the weekends are designated as family time and they are guarded jealously.