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The toll of being a provider

By Daniel Francis

Heavy the shoulders of the man who holds the world on his shoulders. Often, we cannot help but take on heavy burdens and forcefully forge a way forward. Every week I meet up with a married friend to play golf. It is our de-stressing period and also when we vent about life.

On one occasion, he spoke about his joys and adversities of being married and of being a father. Not being married or a father myself, everything he spoke about was of great interest to me.

He spoke on many things, but one thing jumped out to me the most. The great toll he felt like he had to burden as a provider.

I admire this friend greatly because his story is very inspiring. He is an entrepreneur, but things were not always easy. When he was at his lowest of lows, he painted houses and cut lawns to survive.

He persevered through those periods to eventually build a thriving architecture company that he could be proud of. He was a beast. He would crank out work like it was no one’s business and if you were outside looking in you wondered how he was attracting so much business, but he alone knew.

He had a particular vision: to prepare for a family he did not yet have. This vision fuelled his work ethic, and it showed in his results. However, once he got married and had his first child things changed.

He loves his family and all the preparations he made for his family happily paid off. The only problem was having his family changed him but did not change his need to provide.

In truth, the need to provide undeniably and understandably intensified. As a father, you want to spend time with your kids and your wife. He made these priorities. You also want to show up for them each day in big and small ways. He did this each day. The issue emerged when it came time to work.

He was accustomed to working on his schedule and his terms. Of course, that was not possible now.

My friend was a real night owl because that is when he is most productive. Yet how could he work all night, with little rest, drop his wife and child to work and school in the morning? It takes a toll.

He had to adapt and also update his wife on his current status. Understandably, how could she fully grasp his point of view? She was accustomed to working a regular 9-5 job and as much as he tried to explain the mental and physical pressures of entrepreneurship and what he needs to function optimally, she could never really truly grasp it.

As much as she said she understood, all she saw was a tired husband trying to provide and be present.

My friend is now in that period of transition where he needs to figure out how he regulates his time and energy to still provide for his family but still be present.

While listening to my friend, my mind ran to my father. A long time ago, he spoke to me about something similar. He was always able to provide for us financially and he made it a point to make sure we always had what we needed. However, he sacrificed greatly to be able to do this.

He spoke to me about how the constant pressure and the hardening of his resolve affected his relationship with us, his children. He was not able to be fully present when he wanted. I recall he was often very tired.

He was also very intense and could not turn off that intensity easily. This came as a result of focusing tirelessly on what he could do next to provide for us.

What I got, and by extension hopefully you who are reading this, is a window into the experience that maybe all fathers experience at one time or another. When the instinctual need to provide meets the time and energy constraint of having a family. Both experiences reminded me to be grateful to my father and all fathers.

I hope this insight will help create discussions for forgiveness for the hard-working fathers who could not always be there whether physically or mentally after sacrificing.

But also, prayers go out to those who are like my friend and are at a pivotal transition period where they need to figure out how they will effectively tackle their burdens.


Daniel Francis is a millennial helping other millennials. He is a two-time author of the books The Millennial Mind and The Millennial Experience, and an entrepreneur. Over the past four years, he has served as a Personal Development Coach whose work targets Millennials and helps them tap into their full potential.

He is also a Self-publishing coach and has guided hundreds on self-publishing their book successfully.

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