Monday, February 11, 2013

From Ladders to Lessons

(Mama and Luke)

Last Friday night, Boss and I got fancied up to attend a benefit auction for the children's home where Boss is employed. Boss is the principal of the school that serves many residents from the children's home, as well as children from surrounding school districts that are bused in each day.

Many moons ago (do people really say that?), Boss worked for corporate America. Before we met he was an insurance salesman, and during our months of dating and early marriage he was a retail manager for Champs Sports. So I suppose you could say that being a boss (literally) and a salesman have always been in his blood. He was good at what he did. Very good. He won many awards and much recognition, and there was a time when we dreamed about his career in retail management going far. All the way far. All the way to the top! In our minds, he was climbing the corporate ladder one rung at a time. It didn't matter that he worked sixty to eighty hours a week. No pain, no gain! Right?

 But then we got pregnant.

And suddenly that silly old ladder didn't seem nearly as important to us as it once did. If I was at home with the children while Boss was at work 'climbing' away, if he left the house before the children woke in the morning, came home after they were already in bed for the night, missed worship services, and dance recitals, and ball games, would it even matter to us once he reached the very top of the ladder? Would it even be worth it? For our family, we decided the answer to that question was a resounding NO. Because more than likely, in the end, he would have been be standing at the top of that corporate ladder alone, while the children and I were at home going about the family life that we had created without him. So just like that our focus shifted. And we decided then and there that the only type of ladder we ever wanted to climb would be one that we could climb together. So Boss, with my input, began to pursue other lines of work.

Looking back, Boss and I can honestly say now that we wished we had pursued some sort of family business or trade when we were looking to make a change in our lives. Something that we could have worked together, side by side, including our children as they grew. But we didn't even think to head in that direction at that early point in our marriage. Instead, we focused on his pursuing a career that would allow for as much family time as possible. Boss obviously had to make a living, but our first priority was to be together as much as we possibly could be. Boss' second priority was working a job that 'mattered'. Not that most jobs are not necessary in the world that we have come to live in, but if Boss was to be away from us for any length of time each day, he wanted to feel good about how he was spending that time.

Eventually, after several months of prayer, Boss decided on the field of education. At that time there was a shortage of teachers in certain states and alternative certification programs were available to anyone who qualified. So, Boss hopped on board, and after one summer of hard work he was a teacher! And I think he would tell you that was one of the best decisions he has ever made. He no longer climbs a ladder, but he spends his days investing in the lives of those who may one day climb. And he is still a salesman. Only now, instead of selling insurance or shoes, he spends his days selling children on the idea that being all that God created you to be and making something of your life is important! He is home early most afternoons. He is off on weekends, holidays, and for the entire summer each year. He is active and present in our home and in our children's lives. And I couldn't be more proud of him.

It isn't always easy. Trying to raise a family on one income, and a smaller income at that, is often a difficult task. We have to work together to pinch pennies (Boss is far better at this than I am), I help out with taking on other small jobs when I can, and we don't always know how we are going to make ends meet. But God has always provided. He has always been faithful to open doors right when we needed them opened the most. And I know that God will continue to be faithful.

We have no idea where our path will take us. Sometimes I dream that God still plans on using Boss in big ways for his kingdom, like Boss' journey has only just begun. Sometimes I am content if what we have is all there ever is. Sometimes we still dream of starting that family business and working each day side by side. But I do know that no matter what, family will always come first. And to us, that is more important than any ladder ever could be.

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