You have things you want to do in this life. Maybe you want to write a book or you’re in the middle of starting a company. Maybe you’re trying to win a championship or run for president.
You want to be a great dad too, but is it possible to do all these things at once?
We’ve talked before about how family comes first… which makes these goals quite difficult. Is it a moral quandary? Is it possible to yearn for personal achievement and still also desire to be a great parent? Is it unfair to your family that you have another love—your career, your public service, your ambition?
For most of history, it’s been women who have felt these conflicting desires the most. Fathers have been encouraged—expected even—to look outside the home for fulfillment and recognition. But still, even prime ministers and billionaires have felt the tension of serving two masters.
In her autobiography, Margaret Thatcher quotes Irene Ward, a pioneering British female politician: “While the home must always be the centre of one’s life, it should not be the boundary of one’s ambition.” Well said, although even the word “should” feels a tad judgmental word
You’re allowed to think bigger. It’s OK to have a career. It’s OK to want to be great at that career. It’s OK to strive to change the world. Because in these things, as long as you share them and open them up to a wider view, you are teaching your kids. You are teaching them about hard work, about doing what’s right, about fulfilling one’s potential, about being of use to others.
Just make sure that home remains the center of your life. Make sure you are stating, with your actions to your children, what is actually most important to you. (Hint: them.)