We were in the British Isles recently, speaking to a group called The Young Presidents Organization (YPO) about families and parenting.
YPO is an interesting organization with membership restricted to people who have, before they turned 40, become presidents of midsized companies. Most of their members are men and they are, by definition, smart, driven, and burning the candle at both ends. They all want to prioritize better (don’t we all) and to do a better job of parenting and raising their families.
YPO has chapters all over the world and has become are one of our best speaking clients. The particular chapter we were speaking to in midlands of England seemed to be particularly focused and well-intentioned group. Their theme for the year was “Family First” and they produced a brochure with the following quote on its cover:
“I’m a Dad.
It’s what I’ve always wanted to be since I was very young.
It’s what I almost always love doing.
It is the only thing in my life that day in and day out makes
me feel like a good man. A real man.”
Family First Pennine YPO Chapter Chair
It is so interesting that wherever we go, we find parents, moms and dads both, who seem to realize more and more each day, that their family is what counts, and that parenting is the most important part of their lives.
These young presidents understand that their companies, their golf games, and most of their other interests will come and go, but their children and families will, hopefully, outlast them all.
It’s this kind of prioritizationthis kind of “popularizing” that we think is making families all over the globe stronger than they have ever been before. We see more and more dads and moms who see their jobs as existing to support their families, not the other way around, and who are making employment and life style decisions based on what will be best for their kids rather than on what will make the most money or be best for their careers.
And it almost seems that in difficult economic times and recessions, people “get it” even more that what counts is family, and that “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
On our way to England we spent a few days in Ireland (Eyreland we call it since we have ancestors from there.) For part of the time we were at the remarkable Ashford Castle on the West coast, in the quaint little town of Cong. We had time to just wander around a bit and were so impressed with the families we ran into. We made a new friend named Patrick (it seems like about a third of Irishmen are called Patrick) and as we talked with him in a small pub/cafe, we could see the isle of Patrick out in the lake or loch where St. Patrick was banished back in pagan times). Our new friend Patrick was having lunch with his wife and small son which he said he did often. A couple of other young families were there too, taking an hour out of the workday to be with family.
The week before that we were in Toronto, and noticing the same thing. At a community sponsored “parenting skills conference” in a large Catholic school, parents of every denomination and demographic were gathered with the single objective of learning how to do better at raising their kids. We were impressed with the diversity of the audience, but even more impressed with the unity of purpose in those who came. And there were as many dads there as moms.
Think about it. The word “parenting” hardly existed a generation or two ago. And if a meeting was held on it, not many dads would have shown up.
The fact is that parenting is becoming more popular, especially with dads. Perhaps it is because it is a harder job than ever before, but then again, perhaps it is because we all realize that, in the long run, it may be the most important thing we will ever doand just possibly the most fun and most rewarding thing too!