Every moment in life, we are faced with a choice which should command our
preference -- the demands of our job or the duties to our family? If there
is a board meeting today at the same hours that our son graduates from
school, where should we go -- to the boardroom or to the graduation
ceremony? If we have to make a very important presentation tomorrow, so as
to advance our career, but our wife says she has to see the doctor on a
suspicion of cancer, which appointment should we keep?
These are the
daily battles of conscience we have to wage, trying to keep a balance
between our responsibility to earn a living and our opportunity to live a
life. And our choices invariably reveal who we really are. Our preferences
indicate our true character. Our priorities are the best indicators of our
real identity. What profits success? I know that many of you out there
would go for career on the pretension that after all, you are doing all
these for the family.
Many of us, would rather become outstanding employees, model personnel
instead of being doting fathers or loving husbands. Many of you would opt
to perform exceedingly well in the office even if you work 12 to 16 hours
a day, going home only to change clothes or catch a few hours of sleep.
But what for? At the end of the day, what have you accomplished? What
profits a highly successful professional or wealthy businessman if
ultimately, he loses his family, wrecks his marriage or dishonors the name
he will leave to his children? What has a rich man accomplished if
he has built a fortune and founded conglomerates of highly profitable
companies and yet drives his own wife to vices or infidelity, his children
to drugs and delinquency and himself to spiritual decay and total
burnout? What matters most? Look around you. The evidence is
overwhelming and irreversible. Families are shattered. Marriages are
broken. Lives are reduced to utter emptiness. Even as man advances
in wealth and success, he deteriorates on the basic standards of joy,
peace and serenity. As we all compete and struggle for power and
possessions, we often neglect what really matters most. In our insatiable
mania for supremacy over the rest, we often forget the most important
things in life. I will respect your choice. But as for me, my
priorities are clear. Between career and family, I will always go for
family. I can forego that board meeting and earn the ire of my boss or
make a bad impression on my peers. But I shall not inflict a lifetime
trauma on my son by sending him alone to graduate without his dad. I can
forget that business presentation and lose a valued client or waste a
career promotion, but I cannot leave my wife alone in her moments of
Why should a
well-known public figure commit suicide given all his fame and fortune?
Can his wealth and wisdom compensate for ruptures in his
relationships? Why should a wife of a famous politician commit
adultery...? Is it lust or vain fixation for the pleasures of the
flesh? Or is it the pain of being neglected and ignored by the husband she
used to adore? Why should a son cut his wrist or a daughter drink poison
despite all the luxuries and pleasures they are showered with? Can money
replace love? Can pleasure take the place of affections?
To succeed in
career and fail in the family is, to me, the ultimate hell. John Grisham,
that famous author of legal fictions wrote "The Testament,"
which tells of a highly successful industrialist who made billions of
dollars but lost his family. In the first 10 pages of the novel, he jumped
to his death from his multi-story building in front of his self-centered
children. By his will, he disinherited all of them and bequeathed his
entire estate to an illegitimate daughter who refused to accept it. That
is the ultimate irony; those who lusted for money lost it. Those who were
given all the money refused it.
In all his dozen
masterpieces, Grisham tells us about the importance of family.
"A Time to Kill" tells of a father who went to jail for killing
his daughter's rapists. Indeed, we should learn from the mistakes of
others. We should straighten our lives and put our priorities in order. I
don't know about you. But as for me and my house, our credo is: There is
no success in a career that can make up for a failure in the family. But
if forced to make a choice between career and family, I'll gladly choose
the latter. This is my philosophy, my article of faith. I pray and work
hard to live up to it.
by Joe Gatuslao
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what will it profit a man if he gains the world world but loses
his soul? St.
No matter how high we've scaled in our career or elsewhere, if our
house is not a home, we are a failure.