“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton
Earlier today I had on a t-shirt bearing the logo of the company I work for. My son asked what it said on my shirt, and I replied that it was the name of the place where I work. He said, “No, Daddy. You work at the baseball game.” While kind of true, it’s not what I actually do to help sustain our family…but man, I wish he were 100% right.
I, like many other coaches, have families that miss us greatly when we’re in-season. I believe someone told my wife once that she becomes a “baseball widow” from February through May. Doing this job, and trying to do it well, requires our most important commodity: our time. As my son gets older, my departures become increasingly tougher and his reactions to my departures become more heartbreaking. He’s at an age where he understands that I’m leaving or gone, but he’s not quite at an age where I can comfortably take him with me regularly. The attention he requires mixed with the attention my team requires just doesn’t jive yet. I can’t wait until it does. Until then, I have to try to stretch myself incredibly thin and keep a lot of people happy. It’s a hell of a balancing act.
What this means for me is that I have to pay special attention to a couple areas, and I think all the coaches in my particular position would be wise to do the same.
First, I need to be organized and efficient. During the baseball season, my day starts at 5 AM and ends somewhere late in the night. At this point in time, I’m balancing my family life (wife and two year old), a full time job, a varsity baseball team, this blog, and a full slate of college classes. With no organization and efficiency, there’s no way I do any of it worth a damn. Map out plans and goals. Write things down. Keep a schedule. Delegate and ask for help.
Second, and most importantly, is attempting to achieve balance, maintaining compassion and empathy, and making your time count. Without question, my most important priority is my family. Unfortunately, they often get shafted when it comes to quality time. I need to work to get better at this. That’s where the compassion and empathy comes in. Unless you’re insanely self-centered or just don’t care, you can sense when you’re spending too much time at the gym or field and not enough time with the family. Understand that the lack of quality time with your loved ones comes with a price. It’s your job to listen, take the heat, and figure out how to fix it. This is where balance comes in. Balance is where I have failed previously, and what I am trying to achieve going forward. I have to do a good job at work so I can continue to receive a paycheck. I want to do a good job as a coach because I truly believe that I can make a difference in the lives of the young people I encounter. I want to do a good job in school so I can achieve good grades and get that piece of paper at the end. I want to write things on this blog that people will find useful, helpful or enlightening. With all of that said, I absolutely have to be a husband and a father. To that end, I will continue to strive for balance while fulfilling my other obligations to the best of my ability. And, really, understanding the need for this balance is a good first step toward achieving it.
My advice for those in similar shoes: Review your priorities. Plan. Find ways to be more organized and efficient. Care. Listen. Make the best possible use of your time. When you’re home, BE home.
Here’s to hoping we can all find that perfect balance.
Have an awesome Thursday,