“I hope you are quite well,” a young Winston Churchill wrote to his always busy father from his boarding school in 1886. “You never came to see me when you were in Brighton.” It was not the only time he would write such a thing to his father. “I cannot think why you did not come see me while you were in Brighton, I was very disappointed but I suppose you were too busy.”
As Josh Ireland observes in the fascinating book Churchill and Son, it’s not just the disappointment of the boy that registers all these years later, but his sad attempts to rationalize his father’s selfishness.
We will not be perfect as parents. We will make mistakes. But we must–we just must–do our best to avoid warranting that painful question: Why didn’t you make time for me?
Because there is no good answer. They don’t care that you’re president. They don’t care that this is the busy sales season. They don’t care that your own parents were sick. They don’t care that you were fighting over custody. They just care that you weren’t there.
Time is not given. It is made.
We have to make time. That’s our job. That’s our biggest priority.