Balancing act of an architect

  I often wonder if I do enough. I am a husband, dad, believer, architect, organizer, speaker, teacher, and activist. Can I be all those things at the same time and do them well? Am I leaving everything on the table everyday or am I coming up short by being spread too thin. I want to be super dad, and perfect husband, but how can I be that and everything else. Have I become the guy that works too much and neglects his family?

As a society, how should we measure success? Do we have to wait until our kids are on Oprah telling the world how we ruined their lives to figure out that we are making mistakes? It is a difficult balance and I am sure I am not alone in these questions. We are often judged by others and usually give more weight to their opinions than our own. We focus on the negative in our society because that is what we are taught to notice and talk about. The evening news is almost always stories of things that have gone wrong, or who is at fault for this policy or that issue. Our politics is focused on faults instead of common ground (good).

I spoke at JMU’s Engineering school about being a design professional yesterday. The question that sparked this blog entry was “why did you become an engineer (architect)?” My reasons to start with was simply I liked creating spatial solutions, which I realized in 7th grade. My reasons have grown over the years as I found my place in this profession. I am an architect because I want to make your life better, your city more livable, your community, well more like a community. I do my work to help you, but also to be a better dad, husband, citizen. I know I could spend more time with my girls, but could I make their community more vibrant if I was home every night? I could just focus on designing monuments to my own ego, but I choose to design focused on community, energy efficiency, functionality, and budget restraints. My motives are in one way very selfish, I want this community to be the best possible place for my family to live, work, and play. However, I want to share my work, my abilities, and my time with you. So I believe I am doing the best I can at this time in my life. I continue to try to be better and find balance. I certainly don’t have all the answers; in fact, I might just have all the questions and no answers. So I leave you with a question:

How do you find and justify your balancing act?

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