Make your priority getting your family to heaven

By Kevin Sprehe, NOLA Catholic parenting

At a recent companywide meeting, which focused on ways the company could improve, there became a clear emphasis on the well-being of each employee.

I was impressed that a commercial construction company, one that I have happily worked at for the past nine years, would take the time to focus on this aspect of the company.

The recognition of the individual person within the company and the need for wellness was something to note in a secular and predominately male industry. The personal and attentive feedback was impressive.

The majority of the discussion surrounded the fact that personal well-being was important and needed to be enhanced. The executive team recognized this and wanted to foster growth.  This inherently showed the care for the person and not just the interests of the company.

I was grateful for the meeting because, as I try to live out my faith more, I face battles that resonated inside of me during the meeting: My desire to be with my family versus my drive to excel in my career.  My desire to better myself spiritually versus my desire to better myself in my field. My desire to have time to exercise and play sports versus my desire to stay at work just a little longer to get the job done.

Humans have worked since Genesis, “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Genesis 2:15). It is a natural and good thing. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, however, the sweat and struggle of work has been added.

I struggle to find balance between my career and everything else that is important to me.

Working is a part of life. It is the means by which I provide for my family and make a difference in my community. I hope it is not about me, but rather what I offer to God and to others.

The oppressive nature of many companies intensifies the struggle. By driving employees to work long hours away from home or not encouraging them on a job well done, it is here that personal well-being suffers. A person simply becomes a tool in a company’s tool belt.

The pressure on a husband and father (and yes, a wife and mother, too) to provide for his family is already hard enough without the pressure of a company asking him to spend more time away from those who are truly the most important in his life.

I can work until I am blue in the face, build remarkable buildings and win awards with my name inscribed. But,  I’m not taking that with me to heaven.  What I am taking with me, God willing, will be my wife and my kids.

My No. 1 priority as a husband and father is to get my wife and children to heaven. I pray the days of overworking can be fewer, and the days where I mentally can’t disconnect from work when I’m home become less. I pray that I can overcome the struggle and that my example of working hard and keeping it balanced is what wins out in the end.

I am grateful that I work for a company that recognizes the dignity of the human person and strives to make this a priority. Are they perfect? No. But, acknowledging the fact that this is important and that this should be a top priority is exactly what a company should be doing.  A man needs help in making the right decision to put his family first and setting his priorities straight.  There has to be a healthy balance, and God willing, there will be.

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