Recently at church a point was made that actually ended up having a fairly profound effect on me. (It’s worth citing that Russell Schlecht was responsible for most of the things I’m about to write) It was a discussion about the balance of work and family. Work always want more of me. Always needs this extra thing done. Family is the exact same way. Kids never say, “OK, I’m good, no more time needed.”
The point that struck me was that there are only 2 jobs that NOBODY else can do.
1) Husband to my wife (well, barring disaster – I guess first husband to my wife is more factually accurate)
2) Dad to my kids
Then, very clearly, the point was made that why would we ever struggle to choose between work and family? Seriously? How can you not put your family first? I understand hard work schedules. I did a residency to become a pediatrician. I get it. But, if given the choice – there shouldn’t be a choice. Ever.
This hit me at a time where I was presented with two very different career paths. One path was to pursue more training to become a pediatric emergency medicine physician (i.e. run an ER at a big Children’s hospital) or the other option was a job where I can continue being a general pediatrician, but do it in a family friendly place with a schedule where I’ll basically work just about every other week (and the money is better with option #2). It’s worth noting that option #2 was a surprise opportunity that I wasn’t seeking out, it just kind of presented itself.
I wrestled back and forth. Career dream, family dream, career dream, family dream. And then the points above hit me like an arrow in the chest. Not some sissy cupid arrow – one of those 3 feet long arrows the orcs shoot in Fellowship of the Ring. That was my answer. Choose family. God was clearly involved with His timing on this one.
I will always wonder and worry if I could’ve been happier professionally with the ER path. But I know that my boys will have a dad who is refreshed, engaged, and around them to grow up with. I see the “Happy Father’s Day” pics on facebook and I’m excited about the future with my children. Let me be clear: this was the right answer for me and my family. I’m not being critical of others who have chosen differently. I’m not them, I’m me.
Right about a year from now, our family is going to move half way across the country, to be together.