One of the unusual side effects of our modern lives is how siloed work is for most people. “Work” is a place you drive to in the morning and come home from in the evening. It’s what you’re doing while your kids are at school, or in other cases, while they’re asleep at night. Great dads (and healthy people) aspire to what we call “work life balance” which only further perpetuates this silo. Work is not supposed to intersect with your time with your kids.
The problem? Well, where are you kids supposed to learn the importance of work ethic? How are they supposed to know what a hard working dad looks like if they never actually get to see it? How are they supposed to learn what work looks like at all?
There is an old Latin expression A bove maiori discit arare minor. The younger ox learns to plow from the elder. That’s because the oxen would be harnessed in together. The kid would not only get to see their dad do what they do, they’d be literally strapped into it together.
Obviously good boundaries are important. Obviously you don’t want your work life to overwhelm or interfere with your home life. But make sure that striving for this balance doesn’t accidentally deprive your kid of an important example—Dad, the provider. Dad, the protector. Dad, the hard-working guy they can hold up as an inspiration. It doesn’t matter what your profession is, whether you’re a CEO or a stay-at-home dad or you’ve since retired. Show your kids your work. Show ‘em how much you put into it. Let them see you sweat.
It’s good for you and it’s good for them.
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