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“Daddy, I love you,” my son said after calling me into his room near midnight. He sounded like he had gotten into the Mike’s Hard and was trying to push through the buzz. “I love you, too,” I said. “Now …...

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When Did I Become a Pushover?

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As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

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Filed Under on April 3rd, 2011

Family Maxims #29

By Seth Kabala

“Daddy, I love you,” my son said after calling me into his room near midnight. He sounded like he had gotten into the Mike’s Hard and was trying to push through the buzz.

“I love you, too,” I said. “Now go back to sleep.”

He lay back down and nuzzled into his pillow. I tried to back out of his room without disturbing this new foray into sleep, something difficult to do in a 1920s house that produces floor creaking to rival a full symphonic crescendo of Beethoven’s 9th. That or home-based land mines.

I made it past the threshold, turned and turned the stubborn knob that only depresses the bolt after the third or fourth turn, let off only a couple firecrackers as I closed the door, and then I heard, “Daddy?” And I knew I had failed.

But Will’s voice, though petulant at times most of the time, was pleasant, so I avoided letting loose my rock star scream at just why he wouldn’t go to sleep, and went back in to hear him say this:

“Daddy, I will never stop loving you.”

One minute you’re sure you’re about to make the papers. The next, you’re reaching for a tissue. Kids are cruel like that, but they know when to turn on the charm.

My conclusion from this exchange is that I must have done something to deserve Will’s love. I must have earned it. Even though I work full-time and spend many hours pursuing side interests, I always make time for my kids, and I think they can see that, which makes the expression of their love more meaningful.

We shall not apologize for hours invested in a pursuit of a better life for people who, by necessity, must be neglected in the process.

Neglected is too strong a word. Let’s say willfully compartmentalized. That means we can separate our work and family lives but still maintain our position as CEO of both.

Why shall we never apologize for the hours away, for moments missed, for the time lost, because those hours represent the core of who we are to our children. As long as you give them a chance to see the blueprint, they’ll appreciate the end result.

Without the blueprint, you’d just be the bum on the corner who’s wearing three coats, wind-burn, and shopping bags for shoes, looking up at the tower as it ascends, looking at the apprentice watching the master.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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