priorities-1024x768We all have priorities in our life. Work, school, family, kids, weddings, hobbies. But the interesting thing about priorities is, for the most part, we have complete control over them.

If work is your priority, it’s the job that might keep you bound in obligation, but you don’t have to keep it as your highest priority.

Let me explain.

You’re obligated to go to work and make your money to pay your bills. But you’re not obligated to take your work home with you, mulling it over in your head all night, working on projects when your kids are vying for your attention.

Does this make any sense?

Here’s another example.

Sarabeth and I have become quite addicted to this game I downloaded called “Subway Surfers.” It’s a brilliant In-Subway-Surfers-added-a-new-city-Seoulgame where you’ve got to keep your little guy (a juvenile delinquent) from being captured by the security guard who is chasing you through a train yard. Sarabeth and I are constantly trying to top each other’s score by how many coins we collect. (I won’t make a big deal of it, but I was the record-holder of 463 coins until she beat me with 560. She held the record for two minutes before I came back and topped her score with 863 coins, which is the total to beat now.)

But sometimes our seven-month old daughter needs attention while I’m busy jumping trains and dodging roadblocks.

michael-scott-dancing-oAnd during those moments, I must decide what my priorities are. Sadly my priority is usually to finish the round with as many coins added to my score so that I can gloat to my wife. This usually includes laughing and pointing and dancing around her like a big baboon as she buries her head in her hands in shame. After all, the baby will still be there, right?

But in those moments, I have a choice. I have full control over my priorities. I have the authority to make a quick shift in my mind, swapping my gaming priority with baby-time. I may not want to necessarily, but that’s not the point, is it? The point is, my daughter needs me, whether I like it or not.

I may be at 792 coins, but if my daughter needs me, it’s my responsibility to forfeit the game and tend to her needs, or respond to my wife when she’s asking for my attention (even if she’s just trying to distract me from getting a higher score!).

We may not be able to control everything in our life, but we can always control, and change, our priorities. And that can make all the difference in the world to the people around us.


Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

17 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. Being a parent changes life and its priorities completely. For a few years we have to step back dramatically. Being aware of this makes it very easy… it is only temporary!


      1. Enjoy every moment! When those moments are gone…. they are gone! My kids now are 12, 15 and 19. Sometimes I can’t believe how fast time flew by. Since I am aware of it, I try to be more around than in the past years when I enjoyed the new freedom. I don’t know how long my daughter will live with us, that’s why I am consciously enjoying the time with all of them. So enjoy the moments, no matter how tough they might be at times!


  2. “We may not be able to control everything in our life, but we can always control, and change, our priorities. And that can make all the difference in the world to the people around us.” needed to hear this!


  3. Your viewpoints on re-prioritizing the different parts of one’s life are well stated. The problem is that people find it hard to change. They get stuck in patterns of behavior and resist changing them. Your case is a good one: having a child changes everything — and that should include priorities. My daughter and son-in-law had to readjust their behaviors to live more happily with one another, and he especially had to adapt his priorities as their family grew to four children, soon to be five (in 8 years!). Since my daughter (with her husband’s agreement) wants to be a stay at home mom (it would be hard to do it any other way), it’s easy to dump everything that’s not his job/employment on her; but parenting doesn’t work that way. They’ve changed a lot of their behaviors for the better, and re-prioritized what’s most important in their lives. Thank you for reminding us that change is possible — often desirable.


    1. I’m glad your daughter and son-in-law were able to do this. The willingness to change can certainly be very difficult, especially for me 🙂


  4. Very well said. So much of life comes down to priorities. There isn’t enough time to do everything, so focussing on what you want and what is most important really keeps things in perspective.


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