Balancing Life and Work

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2015, file photo, Chicago White Sox's Adam LaRoche, left, and his son Drake walk to the White Sox's clubhouse during a photo day before a baseball spring training workout in Phoenix. Kudos to Adam LaRoche for wanting to spend time with his son, and walking away from a $13 million salary to make sure that happened. But there's nothing wrong with the White Sox telling the now-retired first baseman that "Bring Your Child To Work Day" couldn't be every day. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Adam LaRoache walked away from a $13 million contract with the Chicago White Sox last week rather than submit to the club’s request that he not bring his 14-year old son Drake with him so often. During his 4 years with the Washington Nationals Adam brought Drake to spring training and all of their 162 games.    Drake has been home-schooled so that he could travel with his dad.

The front-page Washington Post story has stirred conversation beyond sports – ‘his decision to quit became bigger than baseball.’

In a statement LaRoache wrote:

“As fathers, we have an opportunity to help mold our kids into men and women of character, with morals and values that can’t be shaken by the world around them. Of one thing I am certain: we will regret NOT spending enough time with our kids, not the other way around.”

He had the support of his teammates.

White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton told reporters, “I think a lot of people have stepped back and said, ‘If a man can step away from $13 million more for his family and his son, what does it take for me to spend a little more time with my kid or take a little more responsibility for my family situation.”

Each leader has to balance work with other important life priorities. While no one I know of has the opportunity or privilege of bringing a child to work everyday, everyone I have coached has recognized the importance of getting the balance right. A few have regrets, as LaRoache said, for not spending enough time with our kids.

For some of us it’s about spending time with grandchildren. I recently attended the annual grandparents day at the nearby elementary school where our two youngest attend – Hillman in kindergarten and Libby in the second grade. In his welcome, the principle emphasized how important grandparents are to kids.  I’m thinking that time together with them may be as important for me as it is for them.IMG_1457

When our work is finished, the time we have spent with family and friends will mean as much, if not more than our careers and callings.

Drake LaRoache will never forget that his dad gave up $13 million just to be with him.

Selfie with Libby on grandparents day

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4 Responses to Balancing Life and Work

  1. Newell Smith says:

    What a powerful example! Couldn’t agree more. By the way we have had the privilege of doing the Grandparent Day at school as well. The grandparent responsibility is also fun and we enjoy every moment of it as I’m sure you do as well.

  2. Keith Wright says:

    Thank God for the example. It challenges us even as old Grandparents. Tom, your granddaughter is beautiful.

  3. Gene Gabbard says:

    You hit the nail on the head. One of my grandsons who is 11 chose me as the person he wanted to do a “biographical sketch” on. One question he asked hit me hard: “Grandpa what would you do differently?”. I said “spend more time with my family”. LaRoche said “Of one thing I am certain: we will regret NOT spending enough time with our kids, not the other way around.” He nailed me. In my 30s I was working sixty or seventy hours a week building DCC. That left primarily Sundays as time spent with my family.

  4. Wes Campbell says:

    Love the story…….love the selfie….you are appreciated Tom!

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