Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s memoir, An American Son, was released this week. Born to Cuban refugees, his story is an inspiring and candid one. There is much to talk about concerning this rising star in the Republican party, but for now one specific reference in the book is worth noting.
Upon arriving in the Senate in 2010, Mr. Rubio forged a friendship with Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. The elder Leahy counseled him on balancing his work with his family responsibilities. Senator Rubio is married with four young children.
Senator Leahy told him about a special invitation he received from the president years earlier, and how the date in question conflicted with something he had committed to doing with one of his young children. The senator declined the offer from the president.
In telling Senator Rubio the story, Senator Leahy noted that he “couldn’t remember the event the president had invited him to, but his children had never forgotten that he had turned down the president of the United States to be with them.”
Would you turn down a similar opportunity if it conflicted with a special event in your child’s life?
I was once faced with this exact choice. I had been on the road for an extended period of time and had carved out a special day with the boys at home. But then came the call from Washington, and I had to make a decision. I respectfully declined. I’m glad I did. I have no regrets.
It’s easy to lose perspective in the midst of the moment. It’s natural to want to follow the bright lights and seize seemingly “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities. But if you find yourself trying to make such a decision, it might be helpful to pause, take a big deep breath and apply the 10-or-15 year-rule. In other words, what will you remember or what will truly matter a decade or more from now?
Only you’ll be in a position to answer that question. Just don’t forget that though our children’s childhood is fleeting, our place within it will long be remembered by them.
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