Let’s begin with one of my basic premises: There is unity of life.
What does that mean?
It means that you are one person, not two, and not three or four. You are the same man, both on the job with your colleagues and at home with your wife and your children. You may think that they are different. You may use pop-culture words like “persona” to indicate that you take on different personalities and different habits and behaviors. And, in fact, you may try to live and act differently in those two different arenas. But you cannot live two lives; underneath the mask you are the same person in both spheres of responsible operation. And to argue against my basic premise is to further fortify it prove that it is true.
Men who are weak and ineffective as husbands tend to be the same as fathers by trying to split their lives between work and family. In other words, they live as producers at work but become consumers the moment they walk through the front door of the home. On the job they dedicate their powers to serious, responsible activity; but at home they are passive in supporting their wife or helping with the children. In the workplace, their character strengths operate at all-out exertion — everyone sees and respects their work ethic, sound judgment, sense of responsibility, perseverance, dedication, and self-control. But at home, their character is set on neutral, even after running in overdrive for the day, and thereby absent from their children’s experience.
Successful fathers do not live like this. They are smart and effective leaders at home as well as on the job. Their strength of character impresses their wife and children as much as it impresses their colleagues at work. Their devotion to their family, in fact, is the whole reason and purpose for their strenuous professional work. They work so that they have a home to go to at the end of the day; not the other way around where we have a home as a base where we can flop at night and then go back to work the next day. The main purpose of their work is the spiritual and emotional welfare of their family, and their wife and children know this through experience. In short, a successful father who is worthy to follow, exercises leadership at home as much as on the job – and in roughly the same ways.
What kind of man are you? Would your wife or children “recognize” you at work?
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