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Kay was a famous corporate manager. His career started off at a low-profile company but escalated speedily. He hopped from one big corporation to the next, excelling in what he was doing and receiving the rewards he deserved – a good reputation and a decent salary that eventually became exorbitant. He was able to afford the luxuries that he had only seen in the movies until a few years ago.

In a few years however, he was living only for these luxuries. The wealth he had earned became a starting point for more and yet more accumulation. He thought that with his hard work, he could buy anything. Sometimes, stories he had heard in his childhood would flash in Kay’s mind – stories about how people fell into the traps of greed and want, never being able to live a contented life again. But whenever such thoughts came to his mind, he snubbed them out quickly. He was now full-speed ahead in his lifestyle and the mere thought of slowing down made him nervous.

In time, he got a big house and got married. His wife saw him as a really important man at first, but she eventually realized that he was living a life only to provide comforts to his family. In the process, he seemed to have lost the importance of relationships and relaxation. Their two children rarely saw their father who had to leave the house early and return quite late.  He could not be present at any of their school events or to read them bedtime stories. He was too tired and too occupied for all this. He could not go on family vacations as his position in the company was ‘too sensitive for time-off.’

In Kay’s eyes, he was doing his best for his family. He thought that providing them with money and resources was his only job. His family could afford every pleasure because of the wealth Kay earned. His kids had all the latest technology they wanted, his wife shopped for top-brand clothes and accessories, they had luxury cars, maids and servants to help them out, and were able to materialize all of their whims and fancies. Kay felt satisfied thinking, “What more could a man give to his family?”

In his family’s eyes, Kay was the father-who-was-never-there. Initially, his children complained and put up a fight about this, but eventually realized that they did not fit into their father’s packed schedule. They were happy with the cool things that their father let them buy but deep inside their hearts, they were sad that they could not share their joy with him.  Kay, who thought he was doing everything for his children, did not even know that his children actually needed him more than anything else. His wife, whose dream it had always been to live a life of sharing, caring, laughing and enjoying had learnt to be content with
shopping, looking pretty, decorating the house, organizing parties and ensuring everyone knew about their family’s financial status.

There was no doubt that Kay was really good at his professional work. Unfortunately, he was at work for so long and so often, that eventually, it was the only thing that he was good at. Somewhere along the road, Kay had ‘become’ what he did for a living. His identity was his work. Even though he had made a name for himself in the corporate world, he had forgotten to live life as a person, as a human being. His mind was never ready to think about anything except his work.

Never once did Kay pause to think, “Who really am I as a person, as a human being, as a husband, as a father and so on? Is this human life limited to increasing the profits of a corporate company? If I did not have this job, who would I be? Why am I so busy in filling my coffers overlooking the beauties this life and this world have to offer? Have my most meaningful accompaniments – my wife and my children – become reduced to fixtures? Was I born only to earn money?

Such a living style had become his passion, his mission. He took increasing stress for successive steps to his path — the path to glory. But stress is stress and gradually, this stressful life began to take a toll on his health. He did not have time even to see the doctor. Whenever he did go to the doctor, he was advised to re-plan his life, relax and unwind. The advice never worked. He continued to do whatever was required to rise higher and higher in his profession. Eventually, the stress showed up. One day, he had to be rushed to the hospital when he fainted during a heated meeting with a client. His condition was serious. The doctors were not sure if he would survive.

Kay’s life flashed before his eyes. All he saw was meetings with clients, convincing his team members, leading projects, his office and his pending files. Pushing aside everything, he asked to see his wife. She responded quickly and arranged a full-time attendant as she herself was scheduled to attend some meetings.  In the endless race for materialism, Kay had forgotten to show his family what togetherness meant. Everyone had started going by a fixed schedule, with no time for anything or anyone. His children, on hearing about their father’s condition, sent him flowers. They did not show up to look after him or to talk to him as they already had their day chalked out. Kay was responsible for all this. In all his wisdom and sincerity, he had modelled this. In the early years after his marriage, whenever his wife called him in the office to tell him that their child was sick, he would call his secretary to send for a doctor and also arrange for flowers to be delivered. He himself was too occupied to take time off to comfort his family. Now, the ‘standard’ had been set.

A new flash now appeared before Kay’s eyes. All of a sudden, life seemed like such a waste. Accomplishments seemed so superficial. What had once seemed like moments of glory now appeared to have nothing glorious about them. The real glory had been lost. A human life had been lost in meaningless pursuits and now lay helpless on a hospital bed.

~ Nivedita Shori

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Our busy schedules and fast-paced routines in today’s highly competitive world sometimes leave us with little time for our children. The irony is that we keep thinking that all of this haste, hurry and worry is for the betterment of our children. We think that their life will be easier when they grow up if we work really hard for them now.

 We forget that children will always be deeply affected by what they have seen being done by their parents. If you never gave importance to family or to relaxation, your children will never learn how to do it. If you walk so fast in life that they can’t even catch-up with you, they will grow up to think that it is correct and they will do the same. All our plans to make their life easier will be foiled.

 So give some thought to how you’re spending your life and how your kids are watching you live. The following poem on www.fathers.net tries to make us realize the truth about this fact:

 “Walk a little slower, Daddy”,
Said a little child so small.
“I’m following in your footsteps,
And I don’t want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they’re hard to see;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.

Someday when I’m all grown up,
You’re what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child
Who’ll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you.”

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