COMMENTARY 782.2: Borrowing One Hundred Dollars

Tim knew his father was an important lawyer who worked most nights and weekends. So he was disappointed but not surprised when his father didn’t attend the last soccer game of the season.

That night he got up the nerve to interrupt his dad’s work to ask: “How much do lawyers make?”

Annoyed, his father gruffly answered, “My clients pay me $300 an hour.”

Tim gulped, “Wow, that’s a lot. Would you lend me $100?”

“Of course not,” his father said. “Please, just let me work.”

Moments later, he heard his son sobbing and he called him back. “Son,” he said, “I’m sorry. If you need some money, of course I’ll lend it to you. But can I ask why you need it?”

Tim said, “Well, I’ve saved $200 and if you lend me a hundred, I’ll have enough.”

“Enough for what?”

“To buy an hour of your time so you can come to our banquet on Friday and see me get the most valuable player award. Will you come?”

Tim’s father felt like he was stabbed in the heart. For the first time, he realized the cost of his priorities.

None of his clients needed him as much as his son, and nothing he could do as a lawyer was more important than what he could do as a father. How had he missed that insight?

It’s always difficult to balance job demands and family needs, but the test of whether you work too much is simple: Are you able to be the kind of parent your child deserves?

Few people look back on their lives and wish they’d spent more time at the office; a lot of them wish they’d spent more time with their kids.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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