If there is one thing that I am learning in doctoral studies, it is this: balance. The demands of program are great. The rigor is more than I have ever experienced. The expectations are high. The rewards are intoxicating (at times).
And yet, it is not my professors, not my advisor, not my research mentors, and not my professional associations that I go home to at the end of the day. It is my family. My family holds trumps cards and veto power. I have just walked away from opportunities, some potentially great ones, for the sake of my family. I wish I could say it was always a no-brainer. I wrestled with many of them. But in the end, there are mnay people who can take advantage of these opportunities. I am the only one who can go home to my family.
My family does not measure my success by my GPA, number of publications, awards or fellowships. My success is measured in engaged time with them. End of discussion. I must not ask too much of my family, because they will probably give it...and I will lose out along with them. There is no award more rewarding than my family. Any break through research which is seemingly essential to humanity fails to match the importance reading stories with my family, eating dinner with them, reading the Bible and praying with them. My research, if I am very good, is likely to be obsolete a decade after it is in print. The memories made with my children will impact them and their children and their after them.
I want balance in my life. Neglecting my family for the sake of research would be to give in to an empty seduction.
Family first. And then there is the other stuff.