May 16, 2013
"it's equally impossible for men to have it all"
That's an amazing line, and something I don't think people really give credit to.
I think the assumption is that men to do have it all, and that women should be able to as well. The whole anything you can do, I can do better mentality. But we need to realize and admit that no, neither of us can have it all.
I think you're touching on a reality for a lot of people here, Branson, particularly as employment of any kind has become scarce in post-recession America.
A few years ago, as part of cutbacks at the newspaper where I worked, I was assigned back to the sort of general reporting duties that had never really inspired me. Yet as work became a strictly punch-in, punch-out, collect-the-check affair, my time at home - even something as simple as eating dinner with my wife and kids - felt more precious than ever, and I felt more present for them than I had before (I even tried to re-teach myself piano alongside my daughter, who had just started taking lessons).
I'm far busier now editing TC and pursuing other professional endeavors, all of which are rewarding and feel more like a calling. Itâ€™s trickier, but they also don't prevent me from being present as a husband and father. So I wouldn't want to give any of that up, but I also wouldn't mind having more time to sit down at the piano with my daughter.
I've come to believe that if my money is the only valuable thing that the Church can get from me, then I'm doing something horribly wrong.
I've also come to learn that there are things that are more important than being happy in my job, and that is time with my wife, and time spent helping out at the church (we don't have kids).
If we're going to be honest with ourselves, the measure of "are you happy with X" for anything we do is false. It isn't about being happy. It is about living for Christ. And while happiness can be part of that life, it certainly shouldn't be the measure.
"weâ€™ve assumed that itâ€™s acceptable for men to sacrifice marriage and family for career. Christian men need to stop making that assumption"
Thanks for that nugget, Branson. Pure gold.
P.S. On the related note of "Biblical" womanhood/manhood: http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/biblical-womanhood-is-nothing-and-neither-is-biblical-manhood/
This was really well-up, Branson! I almost didn't read it because I have such an allergic reaction to any discussion of male leadership (it's just been done so badly so many times, I wasn't sure I wanted to ruin my Saturday with the stress. Now I'm a bit ashamed that was my first reaction, because this piece proves to me that this topic can be handled with humility and grace even in such a short space.
One thing that struck me is that Jim's decisions are actually the default for many women these days. You speak of the way we in our culture assume women should sacrifice career to be a good mother/wife, and that's definitely true - but in this economy, it can be very difficult to make ends meet on a single income. Many lower/middle income women have to work jobs, but the assumption is the family will come first so the job is just a job, not a career they pour themselves into. It seems like Jim made that same choice, not out of necessity but because it genuinely was his priority. That strikes me as relevant here. I'm not an Office fan so I can't know for sure, but the way you paint this marriage makes it seem like a relationship that is benefiting from love and good choice - lucky Pam (and Jim!).
My wife and I are a young couple currently enrolled in college; that being said, this advice is really great to pick up on early-going. I can only imagine how rewarding it will be later down the road when a family is in the picture. Thanks for leaving your comment!
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