Value of family
As life’s journey continues, what is the value of family?
Bob Blumm, MA, PA-C, DFAAPA
In the November 1996 issue of Advance for PAs, I wrote an article on “Keeping The Family Together.” The article was good and if my colleagues, my physician friends, my NP colleagues and all professionals in every field had followed it, we all would have had less regrets. As the journey continued, I should have placed the article in a frame and read it daily because now as I near the end of my journey, I observe that I failed, in that I heeded some but not all of my advice. The fact remains; in the long run there is nothing as important as your spouse and your children and as twilight approaches steadily, we are aging confronted with what we have really accomplished.
I have authored books, chapters, served on countless committees, was president of one State PA society (NY) and five national Associations. I have been a Liaison from my profession to the American College of Surgeons, created the opportunity for the first PA license from the NYS Education Department. I won us Scheduled prescriptions in NYS and yet after two years who remembers but myself. When we leave our favorite place of employment, what new colleagues know us of our contribution to the profession that places food on the table? As wise Solomon once said, “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
As we continue to age we begin to think of our kids who have now been in high school, graduated college, started in a profession and now have kids of their own. Will they follow their parent’s errors or will they rebel and make the decision to put family first as it is the only enduring unit. I would trade all of the conferences where I spoke or traveled to for the opportunity to spend that time taking the family on another special vacation. My kids had four of five excellent vacations but they remember them and wonder why we did not engage in this time of family adventure and togetherness every year. It’s because their “old man” was more interested in having a name among his colleagues in the profession and in fact was short sighted. As if we live long enough, none of those recipients of our commitment will be at our funeral encouraging our spouse or children.
I cannot change much of this now but I can openly encourage my colleagues not to follow my steps, after all, I have spent my life winning your respect. Names such as president, chairman and ambassador are a status of our skills or commitment but more important is the loving name of Mom or Dad. A special family dinner or every family dinner should be eaten and be a time of reflection of the day so that we may all share what is happening in our lives, We must shut off the damn cell phones, house phones and texting devices when we sit down to eat together. Family vacations must be a priority over conferences. Both have their place but there are many opportunities to get CME/CEU on line and in journals without going to every conference, No, the ED’s of the associations won’t like that but their job is to keep the association strong and therefore they want you at every conference as conferences make money. Yes, go to a conference or two annually but give as much time to a family vacation. Some of us have more expendable income than others, vacations do not mean going to Europe or Asia as you can have a wonderful time in your own state, sleep in a one star hotel rather that a four star as your time will be spent having fun together and little time will be spent in your bed. A full 25% of my income is made by speaking at conferences and I may get a few people pissed and find out next year that 10% of my income will come from conferences but I owe this to you.
Remember, family gatherings are celebrations of achievement and all of our family members have achieved something throughout the year. Focus on the Family is not about a TV program it is about a lifestyle, one that every reader of this small article is confronted with.
Robert M. Blumm, MA, PA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPASurgical PA, National Conference Speaker, Author, Suture Workshop Director, Former AAPA Liaison to American College of Surgeons, Past President four National Associations, Editorial Board Clinician1.com, Advisory Board POCN, Reviewer for Urgent Care JournalInformation about my suture video.Information about upcoming live suture workshops.