I reviewed Jim Axelrod’s book In the Long Run on Saturday. I wasn’t expecting much out of the book, but I came away with three points that really impacted me.
- The value of a father.
- Success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
- A don’t quit attitude can take you a long way.
I talked more about #3 in Saturday’s post. I’ll share my thoughts on success a later this week.
Am I connected?
Axelrod describes his father as a man who became overwhelmed with what his life had become and the strains it required – a wife, 4 kids, and a business. While it was all he wanted, it was more than he knew how to handle.
When Jim was about 8 years old, Bob Axelrod (Jim’s father) coped by escaping into solitude and running. While at home he would put on a pair of headphones, listen to music, and attend to his personal books and other business. He also began to run long distances finding solace in being alone and achieving new distances and times.
As a child, Jim never knew which father to expect come walking through the door – the happy, loving, engaged dad or the irritated, stressed out man.
I have to admit, I read his description of his father and caught my breath. I’m not Bob Axelrod, but I do see myself in those descriptions. By nature, I am a person who gets energy in being alone. I recharge my batteries by getting away from everyone and everything.
This can mean retreating from my kids. It can be more than a personality issue too.
I have exactly what I wanted – 4 kids, a beautiful, talented and understanding wife, a challenging and rewarding professional life – but sometimes it all can be overwhelming. It’s easier to disengage from life than to interact and be the dad my family needs.
What’s the remedy?
I’m not sure what the fix is – completely. I know that I have to find balance. I need to be able to get away for a few moments. Regain my sanity, and then “re-enter life.” That’s okay. What’s not okay is not coming back, and allowing my kids to feel abandoned or worried.
A good father stabilizes his family (a good mother also has this effect, but in a different way).
I also know that I have to be intentional about how I interact with my kids and Kia. I can’t simply wake up one day and realize I have become Bob Axelrod to my kids.
There’s always hope…
Let me end by saying that Bob Axelrod wasn’t a bad guy, not even a bad father. He simply was battling himself during an important time in Jim’s life. In fact, their relationship picked back up as Jim became an adult.
In my life, my relationship with my father has become much more deep as an adult than it ever was as a child. There’s always the opportunity to connect or re-connect with your family. You simply need to start doing it.
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