In the 20 years that I’ve been married, I have learned many valuable lessons. Perhaps the most valuable lesson involves children. Parents, once you have children, your right to make decisions that are in your own best interest ends right there. Once children come along, EVERY decision that you make must be made in light of what’s in the best interest of the children, even if it means giving up everything you’ve ever wanted and everything you’ve ever worked to achieve.
When I got married, I became a father of two beautiful children on the same day. I had spent years building my career as a management consultant, and I was poised for promotion to executive management. It was everything that I had been working so hard to achieve. But my wife and children needed a husband and a father who was home every night, not someone they only saw on weekends and holidays. So I walked away from my career and chose one that best served the needs of my family. It wasn’t the easiest transition, and it meant moving every few years to go where the work was, but it’s what they needed, and as a parent, I understood the obligation that I had accepted when I agreed to be a father and a husband.
I have no regrets about how my life turned out, and when I look at my kids and how they turned out, I know that I did the right thing. They are what mattered, not my job or job title or income or prestige. When I agreed to marry my wife and become their father, they became my whole world, which is the only right course of action for any parent, in my opinion.
Parenting is our gift to the future. It doesn’t matter what we individually achieve, it doesn’t matter what personal goals we met along the way. All that matters is that we raised our children to the best of our ability, because that’s our true job – the only job that matters.
If we don’t put our children first in our lives, then our children are nothing more than accessories to be displayed as we pursue our personal wants and desires. If you just want an accessory as you march on toward what you want, buy a painting, buy a stuffed animal, buy a new car, but don’t have children. They are precious, and they require everything that you are. They don’t need your money or your house or your car or your country club membership, they need you to be there for them when they need you. Be there for them! In the end, it’s all that truly matters.