It’s Saturday morning  – a good time to review and connect in cyberspace on issues that matter.  The problem is that some of these debates further entrench us, rather than propel us to better solutions.  Work/family balance is one of those, and I’m increasingly irritated by what shows up in my Google alerts  Are you?

We talk about work/family balance but to what end?  Sometimes I feel we’ve lost sight as to why we talk about this.  So working moms can “have it all”?  So the workload is fairly split at home? To achieve “equality”?    We mire ourselves in the details of who does what and what to outsource.  Let’s refocus this debate with the end in mind, and that is:  growing children and leaders who can build the most abundant future possible. 

Focus on that goal, and work/family balance resolves itself naturally.  How working parents split the laundry, yard work, cooking, etc. is something for them to sort out, and not something to debate nationally.  That both parents and children benefit from prioritizing time together is very clear.

Time with family, community, children – investing in our humanity – builds an individual’s capacity for empathy.  Empathy is the big differentiator between competent leaders (with clear strategies, great performance management, scorecards, etc) and leaders who have a following deeper and broader than any org chart lines.  Time children have with their parents early on builds their capacity for empathy too – a key to changemaking, which is vital for growing kids in this rapidly changing world.

So, sure, outsource whatever home-making work you can which is not vital to relationships and enables working parents to stay in the game.  Work out an arrangement with your spouse/co-parent which allows you both to live up to your potential outside of the home over time.  There are as many permutations of this as there are families.  But let’s recognize the benefits of parenting are significant – at home and at work – and prioritize that whenever and however we can so we’ll grow secure children and vibrant, wise leaders at 60 rather than burned out executives in corner offices at 40.

Meanwhile, turn off your Google alerts and have a great weekend.

Thanks to Eva Basilion for her contributions to this post.

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An Antidote to Our Empathy Deficit Disorder


An Antidote to Our Empathy Deficit Disorder

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