Is there anything sadder than a person whose work is their life? They neglect their family, they put in crazy hours, they have no interests, no hobbies outside what they do at the office. Maybe your parents were like this. Perhaps you are like this.
Think of Marcus Aurelius. He had an important job. He was powerful. He faced the temptations that all powerful and important parents have—the one we’ve talked about before, where their kids end up feeling like there was no room left over to be a parent. This is why Marcus reminded himself in Meditations, not “to be all about business,” because he could see what our friends who make work their life have trouble seeing: very soon, no one will care.
Marcus liked to repeat to himself the names of the emperors who came before him and marvel at how unfamiliar they were, how quickly they had been forgotten. The only real legacy we’ll leave is the one inside the lives we’ve brought into this world. What matters is who we are for them, what we’ve done for them.
That’s why Archie Manning left football earlier than he needed to. It’s why Ruth Bader Ginsburg specifically scheduled time to spend with her daughter in those early days of law school. It’s why when de Gaulle was with his family, he was with his family.
You can’t be all about business. You can’t put these things in front of your kids. Because in the end, they don’t really matter.