Leaders and their families

This past weekend my wife and I visited our son and his family in Philadelphia. We arrived in time for our granddaughter’s track meet. In fact, we drove straight to her school and got there in time to see her compete.

Our youngest grandson was in a baseball tournament over the weekend so we got to watch him play in two games. What memories these brought back! Our daughter ran track in high school, and we missed very few meets. Our son played high school and college baseball. We hardly ever missed a high school game, and we attended several of his college games each year. His oldest son also played ball, and we spent many hours at his games when we visited them.

During this recent trip our youngest grandson, age 8, was sitting on my lap when he asked what I did in the Navy. He wanted to know whether I fought in any wars and what was the furthest place I had traveled. It was a special time sharing some of my experiences with him knowing that I was passing down some family history that few people would know.

The time ended too soon, and it will be a few months before we return. But it was time well spent. There was a time when I would have slipped off for a few minutes to return work emails or write a blog article or do something else work related. Not any longer. I don’t even take my laptop with me any more when I visit family or go on vacation.

The most important legacies any of us will leave are the memories we create with our families and loved ones. Our work will soon be forgotten after we’re gone, but the memories we create will last with them a lifetime. Even now I can remember special times spent with my family, some of which happened a long time ago. Those are the kinds of memories I want to leave with my children and grandchildren.

Too many of us make the mistake of thinking we’ll have plenty of time to make such memories later. The problem with that thinking is that none of us are promised “later.” We may not the opportunity to make our families the priority they should be later if they are not a priority now.

Too many leaders have sacrificed their families on the altar of success. Don’t make that mistake. Spend time with your loved ones now. Create memories that can never be taken from them.

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