What Google Taught Me about Family

Kudos to Patrick Pichette, for his memorable memoir announcing his retirement as Google’s CFO.  It is worth reading his words in their entirety for a full understanding of his sentiment.   His plans to travel the world with his wife are quite poetic.

One response from a reader to this post struck me and caused me to question our mindset concerning work/home balance:  “Beautiful, if only more could be at a point in their lives to afford to do this.”

Pause.  Deep breath.

I’m sorry…how can we afford not to?

And backing it up, respectfully, Mr. Pichette, “shouldn’t we start sooner?”   What are we piling up our dollars for?  Is life to the full simply a trip experienced around the world with our wife?

The middle of the night feedings and soft squishy infant moments are just that: a fleeting moment.  The toddling days move faster than one thinks; when learning words and how to crawl are not as slow as we had once thought.  The school age years seem lightening fast and if we miss practices, ball games and recitals…they slip through our fingers never to be touched again.  Cheerios, carseats, and learning to ride a bike are such short seasons.  Seasons that can never be re-created.

Never mind our marriages…the ones we neglect or accept or “power through” as oppossed to cherish and cultivate.  Many many marriages crumble and break when the children are gone.  The work and flurry of activities that once filled our days left no room to live and connect intentionally.   Seeking to intimately know one another was not a priority.

So many of us find significance in the workplace and our work gives us great joy if done well.  Yet, when the workplace replaces our home life and becomes our life, disaster can hit.  No amount of money will bring about lasting childhood memories with mom and dad.  No amount of money will make a more solid marriage than one founded on intentional time together.  I spoke about this couple recently and their commitment to walking daily together.  They did not go on exotic vacations or travel around the world.  They lived frugally and simply and yet they have 41 years of a solid marriage foundation.

Kudos to Mr. Pichette for recognizing a fundamental need in his life and highlighting all marriages and the family by presenting it publicly.  I pray we would sit up and take notice.  I pray we would learn from his words because it is not cute when your children are asked about the longevity of your marriage and their response is, in essence, our parents over the past 25 years, “have spent so little time together that ‘it’s really too early to tell’ if the marriage will in fact succeed.'”  Not cute.  Sad.  In my humble opinion, no job, even if it is CFO of Google is worth having an absent parent, or an absent husband/wife.  Life to the full does not start on a trip around the world…it starts today…in the messy little events of daily life.  Do not over value the things that will leave you wanting.   No job is worth losing the intangibles you can never get back.

Don’t get me wrong I love Google as much as the next person…I have an account and use it daily!  I just couldn’t help but highlight Mr. Pichette’s story, his refreshing honesty brings about helpful conversation for us all.

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,


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