Workload and family life is difficult to manage. Whether in a business or in an employment, the main goal is to bring food to the table for our family. Most Filipinos tend to focus on work or business to earn more because of family needs and take for granted quality time with their families. Perhaps, money is the main reason why some Filipinos goabroad to look for better opportunities and sacrifice quality time with their loved ones.
One of my favorite songs when I was taking my first degree in college, Philosophy, “Cats in the Cradle,” written by Harry and Sandy Chapen, and popularized by Cat Stevens, depicts what would happen when we dedicate most of our time to work and spend no quality time with our children.
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad
You know I'm gonna be like you."
The story depicts a the son being born and the father having no time to be with him from the time he was ten years old up to his college days.
Moving on, when theson goes to college:
Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man, I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later; can I have them please?"
Here’s now the twist to the story: the little boy, who longed to have playtime with his workaholic Dad, turned out to be just like his father.
Now Dad realized:
I've long since retired, and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me
This is indeed very sad story, yet this is really happening to most of the families right now.
I am sure all of us crave for work-life and family life balance. In my Masteral degree thesis, “Work-life and Family –life balance of Staff Nurses at UERMMCI,” the remarkable outcome of my study is that staff nurses, earning only a minimum salary, find it fulfilling to work at UERMMCI because they have benefits, like family day, organized by the management every quarter.
I then concluded that the real wealth is not in acquiring so many things, not in a bigger salary or income, but rather, in a quality work-life and family-life balance. Please do not get me wrong; it is not bad to earn more and to have more; it is definitely what I like also. However, if by dedicating more time to business and neglecting the other important matters in your life, you will not find fulfillment in life.
What if you can have both? You can have more money and at the same time have quality time with your family.
I have good news for you! In Spirulina Filipina Foundation, we have a model that to look up to who made his business so successful, but did not take for granted quality time with his family. This is no other than our Chairman, Didier Ladriere and our Vice President,Shiela Tiru.
They have made it to the top, yet we can see that they still spend quality time with their children. During my first visit to their house, what I really admired was not the beautiful design of their house, but the certificates of recognition of all their children posted on the walls. This only means that despite their toxic daily schedule, quality time with their children was not compromised; and the proof of this are their successful children.
These are my other mentors whom I really look up to when it comes to quality work-life and family-life balance:
Dr. Edmund Chan, founder of Covenant Evangelical Free Church, a global discipleship leader, writer, inspirational speaker and a good father. I recall of one seminar I attended wherein he mentioned about his family life: “Next to God, my family is the most important thing in my life.” He then shared his monthly schedule, prioritizing a one-on-one date with his wife, once a week and a one-on-one day for each of his daughters in a week. Spending quality time with each of the family members gave more meaning in the fulfillment of God’s mission in his life.
Dr. Peter Tan-Chi, founder of Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF), a successful real estate developer, inspirational speaker, home-schooled all his five (5 children) until high school together with his wife Diona Tan-Chi. Their children are from Ateneo de Manila who all graduated with flying colors.
Here below are the things I learned from them, which I am now I am applying in my work and family life:
Considering all the advices of my mentors, I came up with my monthly schedule,prioritizing from the most important aspect in my life and set a time a date to do it using FFWFF formula:
Thus, I consult God every day to set my plans, actions and activities according to His purpose. I also set a weekly meeting for discipleship group and attend church on Sundays with my famiy.
My wish is to have the same quality work-life and family-life as my mentors, and I wish it for all of you. I am not saying this is easy to do--there are pros and cons--but imagine if we can learn to do this, a meaningful life is ahead for all of us. I am a work in progress and I hope that as I learn to fix my work-life and family-life, you can learn from me.
I wish you a quality work-life and family-life!
Enjoy the process!