Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When You Work, Work; When You Play, Play

Last night I was reading with my children, trying to get Jason to concentrate since he is still struggling with reading.  Justin, however, kept playing the fool, trying to distract him, and Jason seemed more interested in playing with Justin than reading, so I stopped. 

“There’s a time to play, a time to study, a time to read, a time to eat and a time to sleep.  Don’t mix them up,” I told them.  “When you do, those are the times you get scolded or punished.”

If I’m not being productive during the day, why not?  Am I working, or playing via surfing the internet, or replying non-essential emails that I should be doing after hours or being a busybody on Facebook to see what others are up to? When the children come home from school and I’m still trying to squeeze in more work, I get frustrated and angry with the boys, and so do they. 

“Where’s Daddy?” Justin asks.  

“He’s busy doing his homework,” Jason replies. 

“Speaking of homework,” I remind him, and we all groan. 

Then I thought, this is stupid, “There’s a time to work, and a time to play.”   So now I tell myself, once they reach home and until I put them to sleep I will not work. It saved a lot of frustration.  Now my time and my mind are not divided.  I help Jason with his homework (my wife helps with the BM) and I help Justin with his playing.  I also help in the kitchen so we can eat on time, then I help with the dishes and help getting the boys to bed and then reading with them, which I find is really relaxing for me, too.  It’s also a great time to bond with your children, and it creates great memories for them too that will last the rest of their lives. 

Once those lights are out, I’m free, with a clear conscience, to return to whatever I was working on, or I’m free to answer those emails and check in on Facebook.  Then when it’s time to go to bed, I’m free to play a little there, too or to just talk with my wife, both of us undistracted by children and computers. Somehow we all get through another day as a family, and that’s a nice feeling.

How are your days, are you mixing up playing at work, and then working at home to play catch up, when your children and spouse need you the most?  Don’t mix the two up!  Work when you work, and play when you play.  If your mind is always somewhere else, you’re not going to be effective at work, nor having fun at home.  What applies to children, applies to adults.  That’s a lesson I’m learning from my children before it’s too late, before they grow up and move away.   
           -Robert Raymer, Borneo Expat Writer 

***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.

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