Financial and Relational Debt

I never thought I would be ‘that dad.’

The dad who says he will come play and then doesn’t.

The other day at Collindale pool I was that dad. 

My precious 4 year old daughter Hallie had just learned to swim this summer. She walked excitedly up to me while I was talking to one of the other dads. Dripping with pool water, she looked up to me with her bright blue eyes, and asked “Can you come swim with me daddy? I want to show you how I learned to swim!” She had excited anticipation bubbling in her voice.

“Ok sweetheart, just give me a minute to finish talking to Greg.”  

Greg and I happened to be talking about business ideas, finance and budgeting which I’m particularly psyched about this year. Suffice it to say, my opportunity to swim with Hallie came and went. The Moment had passed; she was on to playing with her friends. I felt like I failed her in that opportunity to connect.

As mentioned I’ve been really psyched about future business venture ideas (make more money) and how to budget and save more (spend less money). Dave Ramsey’s podcast - I’ve been binging that bad boy. 

“Financial peace so I can give more wildly.”

"Freedom from “buying more junk.”"

“Paying my future self first.”

“Giving every dollar a job.”

Those have been the one liners running through my head lately.

Being a good steward of finances and working out of financial debt feels like a noble and Godly endeavor. But I wonder if that intensity can have negative ramifications as well?

A friend from work recently reminded me of one potential pitfall in that pursuit. I’ll call him Ted - A 26 year old colleague of mine who comes from a broken family was raised by his mom. I asked him what conversations he remembers from his childhood and here’s what he said; “Mom worked all day as a corporate manager and when she’d come home all I wanted to do was play. Instead of playing with us, she would go to her office and work some more.” The main tag line he remembers from his upbringing was “I’ll be there in a minute!”

And oftentimes that “minute” never came.

The nugget of truth: As always, my wife Jenny came in clutch with some time tested wisdom - “Don’t get so focused on getting out of financial debt that you go into relational debt in the meantime.”  While planning for tomorrow’s financial future, you may be missing today’s relationships. A gentle bit of wisdom from the love of my life.

Did I learn my lesson from that day at the pool?

I hope so. 

Maybe I’ll start with a date with Hallie? The plan: swimming…(and then Dairy Queen of course).

I’ve heard the quote, ‘Depressed people often live in the past. Anxious people tend to live in the future. Living in the present brings peace.’

 

Is your future pulling you away from being present today? 

Is there relational debt you can start paying back now?

 

Contributed by Lloyde Blackler