Review: Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins

I kept having to stop while reading “Not Without My Father” by my friend Andra Watkins. I kept having to stop and think. I was thinking of my own father and other people in my life who I have taken for granted or not spent the time with that I should.

Not Without My Father by Andra WatkinsWhile there are quite a few good laughs in this book, it is not a bouncy rainbows and unicorns type family story. It is an honest look at a hard personal journey of discovery and connections that is mirrored through the author’s own person journey to walk the Natchez Trace. Her father accompanies her on that walk, via comfortable car of course, to guide, protect and promote her. As any dad should. But this is not so easy a relationship. Along the way old wounds are revealed and feelings left unsaid, both good and bad, are voiced. And then there is mom. Mom throws a whole different spice into the brew.

As I read “Not Without My Father” I thought about my dad. And just as importantly I thought about both my son and daughter. I had to pause to wonder what baggage I was leaving them with, and what tools as well to help them on their journey. Were the experiences I shared with my family, all of my family, what I really wanted to leave them with? And most importantly, had I been present in their lives? Was I there, paying attention, and participating? Continue reading “Review: Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins”

Time For Family

Americans do not take vacations. That is what I was told last night by ABC News as I sat watching TV on the couch with my family. What they also said was that when we do take our vacations we take shorter ones and we tend to do work, such as check email, while we are away. With that all members of my family turned and looked at me. Of course I let out the expected, “What?!” But they were right. That is me. They were also right when they told me that perhaps I wouldn’t need blood pressure medication and such if I would take more time off and learn to relax.

Wife and puppyInterestingly enough I have a consultant from Canada at my work right now. He was telling me about this thing called “Family Day“. Basically it sounds like the powers-that-be in Canada came to the same conclusion so they established this holiday called Family Day so that people would be forced to spend some time with their family. Great idea, but isn’t it a shame that the government has to mandate it? Do we, and I am including you people up in Vancouver and Alberta here, do we really prefer our work to our families?

On that note I am proud to say that I did take last Friday off and spend it with my wife. You can see her with a puppy in the picture. And I spent the rest of the weekend in various activities with my kids and other members of the family. What I am not proud to say is that I also spent a large amount of that time on the phone with my office or using my cell phone to email. In some ways the ability to stay in touch has freed me from the office, but in many other ways it has just tethered me back to it.

What I would ask you is this, are you sacrificing your life and your time with family and friends for work? And when you do take time with them, are you lessening the quality? Are you at your kid’s game, but on the cell phone the entire time? Are you on vacation, but sneaking off to check your email on your phone.  If you can commit like that to your work, why can’t you commit like that to your family and yourself?