I used to get a lot of emails! At the height of my career, I bet I got about 100 (or more!) emails every day during the week. Over a weekend, it was less but still a constant stream of emails.
Several years ago, when our son was starting to ride his bike, he asked me to “watch me Daddy!”
I watched but I was actually responding to emails. Our son said, “Daddy! I want you to watch ME! Not your phone!”
That was a great lesson for me. However, admittedly I still checked emails though I was more sneaky about it.
When my career began, there was no email. It was a simpler time. My secretary would hand me a stack of messages, and I would respond. I had a policy that I would respond as soon as possible though never more than one day later. I had the same policy for my staff. “Call” – NOT email because there was no email – no later than 24 hours.
Technology changed everything. The demands of time made everyone want instant answers. People would email me and then call me minutes later asking for a response. It was crazy!
But, it was the demands of my job. Right before my strokes, I posted a blog entry about my son. At that point, he was 6. He said that “I wish that Daddy was a mechanic so he would not travel too much.” In his mind, “Daddy’s work” took too much time: emails, travel, meetings, etc.
I knew that it was affecting my son’s life, but I had no choice I thought. When my dad was dying, he told me that “If you ever have a family and a child, do not make the same mistakes I did saying that working was providing for my family. 'Providing' for my family was more than money: It was being there.”
I never forgot my Dad’s admonishments. I had to work for my family. But, I did not know what to do.
Now, I do not really have a job because of my strokes. I cannot work now. That is a huge reality check!
I spend a lot of my time with my family now. I know my relationship with my son is better now since I had my strokes.
I still get email because of my responsibilities with the College of Western Idaho and the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. I also get Facebook emails. However, I get maybe 10 emails a day. That is much better than 100 emails a day that need action.
So, last night when our son played a baseball game, I enjoyed my family. I did not even think about my phone and emails.
Who knew that my strokes were a blessing in disguise? Of course, I miss some facets of my old life (reading, math, driving, and being busy a lot). But, I cherish the “new me” simply because I have connected with my son.
Thank you, Dad, for that lesson. However, it is a drastic lesson!!