Monthly Archives: June 2008

TV’s Tim Russert and Football’s Tony Dungy

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how great the former host of “Meet the Press” Tim Russell was in his job. I was just as impressed by what his son, Luke, age 22, said of his dad at his dad’s funeral. According to AP writer Stephen Ohlemacher, Luke gave what he described as his dad’s last speech. His first piece of advice? He urged parents to hug their children.

In a similar vein, reader Jon Cupps wrote me recently about Indianapolis Colts’ coach Tony Dungy’s new book, Quiet Strength.  On page 254, it describes Dungy’s eulogy to his son Jamie who died by suicide at age 18. Dungy told the crowd, “Parents, hug your kids – every chance you get. Tell them that you love them every chance you get. You don’t know when it’s going to be the last time.”

When TV news stars and football stars are speaking about the importance of hugs – and they’re both manly men – I know this message is for all people. Parents, hug your kids today!

 

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Hugging our Kids is a Privilege

Our teenage daughter just returned from a week away at camp.

As I awaited her return, and our hug, I realized that hugging our kids is a privilege. As a grieving parent, I should have already really learned this lesson. But any parent that has to travel away from home for business, or who is separated from their children to take care of an elderly relative, knows this too. Ditto the parents who kids are away from them for school, travel, hospital stays, foreign exchange visits – or even jail.

The next time your kids are within reaching distance, recognize that it’s a privilege to hug them – and hug them with everything you’ve got. Hugs matter.

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Forget “Work-Life Balance.” It’s the wrong goal.

If you are a mother or a father with children under age 19, and if you strive for success in your professional career AND success as a parent, I created this blog just for you.

If you’re in HR or management, and your company has working parents on your payroll and you want to understand and serve them better, stick around too.

I’m a working parent. I understand the day-to-day challenges of trying to be great at my job and great as a parent. Here’s what I’ve discovered: All this talk about “Work-Life Balance” is the wrong conversation. It’s the wrong goal. It’s like the proponents are trying their best to tell us how to go East, when we really want to be going North. The best, most complete, most accurate directions to go East still won’t get you North!

Likewise, when you stop and think about it, you don’t really want to balance these two essentials, because one is your livelihood, and one is your LIFE. If you lose your job, you can get another one and you’re back in the workforce. If you lose a child…Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you tear up, but you get my point. You could never replace that child, even if you had more or adopted.

I know. My son, Mark, died suddenly at age 8 1/2 in 1998. There will never be another kid like him in the history of time – and there will never be another kid like any of yours either.

So I say, forget “balance.” Rather, prioritize “family first, and work a close second.” After all, most of us have to work, and many of us LIKE to work. But we LOVE our family, and I hope to help you keep all this straight, be successful and enjoy the ride too.

Thoughts? Comments? Insight? Please comment.

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