Sunday, May 25, 2008



Every moment in life, we are faced with a choice, which should command our preference: the demands of our job or the duties to our family? One has to make a very important presentation tomorrow to advance in his career, but his wife says she has to see a doctor on suspicion of cancer, which appointment should he keep? If there is a board meeting on the same day and a time one’s son graduates from university, where should he go, to the boardroom or to the graduation ceremony? These are the daily battles of conscience we have to wage, trying to strike a balance between our responsibilities to earn a living and our opportunities to live a life. And our choices invariably reveal who we really are. Our preferences indicate our true character. Our priorities are the best gauge of our real identity. What profits success? I know many of you out there would go for career on the pretension that after all, you are doing all these for the family.

Many of you, would rather become outstanding employees, model personnel instead of being doting fathers or loving husbands. Many of you would opt to perform exceedingly well in the office even if you work 12 to 16 hours a day, going home only to change or catch a few hours sleep, but all this for what? At the end of the day what have you accomplished?

What profits a highly successful professional or wealthy businessman if ultimately, he loses his family, wrecks his marriage or dishonours the name, what will he leave to his children? What has a rich man accomplished if he built a fortune and found conglomerates of highly profitable companies and yet drives his own wife to vices or infidelity, his children to drugs and delinquency and himself to spiritual decay and total burn out? What matters most? Look around you. The evidence is overwhelming. Families are shattered, marriages are broken, and lives are reduced to utter emptiness. Even as man advances in wealth and success, he deteriorates the basic standards of joy, peace and serenity. As we all compete and struggle for power and possessions, we often neglect what really matters.

In our insatiable mania for supremacy over the rest, we often forget the most important things in life. I will respect others choice. But as for me, my priorities are clear. Between career and family, I will always go for family. I can forget that board meeting and earn the ire of my boss or make a bad impression on my peers but I shall not inflict a life-time trauma on my son by sending him alone to graduate ceremony without his dad. I can put aside that business presentation and lose a valued client or waste a career promotion, but I can not leave my wife alone in her moment of anxiety. Meaningless!

Why should a well-known public figure commits suicide given all his fame and fortune? Can his wealth and wisdom compensate for ruptures in his relationships? Why should a son cut his wrist or a daughter drink poison despite all the luxuries and pleasures they are showered with? Can money replace lovel? Can pleasure take the place of affection? In this age of top line technology and convenient gadgets, why are human talking to computers rather than to each other? Why are we retrenching people and replacing them with robots and machines? Why have we lost the simple joys of nurturing relationships with bank tellers because we have replaced them with ATM’s? Why with all our cell phones. Pagers, E-mails, Internet, or the endemic texts, we are no longer communicating? Why are family members no longer talking to each-other? To succeed in career and fail in the family affairs to me is ultimate hell.

Those who lusted for money, lost it. Those who were given all the money, refused it. Indeed, we who are simple folks should learn from the mistakes of others around us. We should straighten our lives and put our priorities in order. I don’t know about yours or anybody else’s but as for me and my house, our credo is, “there’s no success in a career that can make up for a failure in the family.”

The author is a freelance columnist and a political analyst lives in Islamabad.

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