Friday, April 4, 2014

Love, Family, Rich, Poor

The New York Mets' second baseman Daniel Murphy took off two days from the baseball season, which happened to be opening day of the season, to be with his wife for the birth of their first child and started a brouhaha that is taking on proportions one would have never imagined since this was in accord with the present baseball contract and met with full accordance with his employers. A couple of talking heads criticized Mr. Murphy for taking the second day using some unfortunate language. This started the conversation. But the argument should not be about Daniel Murphy because he a had a perfect right to exercise the option. The argument should be focused on other matters not the least of which is if all this talk says a father should be present to support his wife and love his family shouldn't it apply to all including the very poor who may be working at the lowest wages and would lose very important income needed to feed and support his family?

The job one chooses certainly plays an important role in family life. If family is the most important feature of a lifetime and that is expressed as being with your family during all the important moments which include the quiet moments as well as the most prominent ones then one shouldn't choose to be a professional baseball player because there will be little time for family togetherness much less all the moving around as one is traded from one team to the next giving no chance for roots to take hold. The fact is one shouldn't choose many professions such as the military, travelling salesperson, or even the medical profession. All these careers interfere with family life of togetherness and sharing. However they provide other goodies which may not be available in other professions such as great food, shelter, clothing, education and all that stuff that good income provides.

Life is full of trade-offs. The biggest trade-off is where the effort is made to succeed and the price one is willing to pay for his or her definition of success. The driving force for many is money, power, influence while others look more to the tight knit family unit with the stability of a home, neighborhood, role models.
I knew a young man who declined a very lucrative offer for an international sales job because it would remove him from his family for a good part of the year. He never had the fame, or notoriety connected with successful people but he had his family even though the family paid it's price for this, prestigious colleges were out, but stability was in. Peculiarly many would view the professional man who makes the one time effort like the professional man who is there for the birthing event but absent for a good part of the growing up years as the success while the other one is quietly viewed by onlookers as the not so good one. Somehow I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder. However, trade-offs must always be considered.

With all this conversation over what Daniel Murphy should or should not have done or what those pundits should or should not have said is really diverting one from the real question. The real question should be if the right to be have a real family life which includes being with each other at the birth of one's child then why are the poorest among us denied that right? Just ask the guy who is barely making it if he would be paid if he took time off to be with his wife while she was giving birth and I bet the answer would be no, and maybe even result in the loss of his job if he took that time which should rightfully be his if he so chose. The real question should resolve itself about whether we as a nation concern ourselves with only the high and mighty and let the poor and needy scrape along thinking how lucky they are that we let them live off the crumbs that our society let them have.  Because at the end of the day those that can afford it like Mr. Murphy do what they please to do and those that can't do only what the ones in power let them do.
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