There is a generation of men from the baby boomer era awakening to misguided beliefs that have left them with empty promises and broken hearts. For these men it is time to make new promises and mend hearts.
Baby boomer men watched their fathers work long hours for little money. Baby boomers grew up with an attitude of “we can do better” and they set out to change the rules and to do more than their fathers ever did.
Many baby boomer men chased careers and money thinking they are doing it all for their families. Some men believed the family needed their financial support to live a good life, to enjoy the good things, to live in the nice houses, go to the nice schools and have what their father’s family never had. So some men worked long hours, spend a lifetime on the road, put up with office politics, compromised their principals only to realize the chase was in vain and the cost of the chase was higher than what they earned.
Putting Value on the Wrong Things
I recently overhead four men from the baby boomer generation waiting to board an evening Southwest flight talking about “their frequent flyer miles” as if they were badges of honor. One man said “At least on Delta I can get a real first class seat and pre-board before all the common folks”. Another man said “My family is using my USAir frequent flyer miles this week to go on vacation to Mexico this week at a resort at no cost to me”. The third man said “I remember when all this frequent flyer miles actually meant we were something special but Delta nor USAir are ever on time so I am now flying Southwest most of the time because at least they stay on schedule but their perks suck”. And the fourth man said “There are no more glamors to being a frequent flyer anymore accept you get to work on the plane with no interruptions”.
As I listened to these men I reflected upon my own life and remembered when I valued the wrong things. I used to fly every week and be away from my family. Rack up frequent flyer miles that I used for family vacations or gave away to the kids as they got older. I pursued success and made good money and bought a lot of nice things for myself and my family. In the end the money and things mean little to the people that mean the most.
During Father’s Day weekend this year I was able to spend some quality time with my two daughters. Both are now over thirty years old and grown into beautiful women, mature, wise and full of grace. At the end of the weekend both of them embraced me and said “Dad, this was the best time we’ve ever had together because we had all of your time”. It is so nice to see you slow down and enjoy time together” “You are the best Dad in the whole world!”
Time is really all we have and the value we create with it is measured by where we spend it and with whom. I now know how to spend the rest of my time creating more value than any frequent flyer mile program could ever give me. I believe this is a lesson for all men.