This weekend, Mrs. Crystal Stuart hosted a marriage conference in our small town, and it reminded me of one of the first times I knew Crystal would be a blessing in my life.
We hadn’t known each other long, and I was telling her about how much I was working. At the time, I was in my first year of teaching, and I was loving my work with sixth graders at Woodlawn Middle School in Baltimore, MD. But the thing is, I was working a lot, and I think I floated some line her way revealing how impressed I was with my work ethic. I think I said something like, “Most days, the only time I see the sunlight is through the windows of my classroom.”
And I kid you not, that young lady looked me straight in the eyes and said something to the effect of, “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Crystal was right; shortly after that, I began setting limits on how long I worked, building the self-discipline that would be critical to the functioning and flourishing of both my career and what would eventually become our marriage.
(The marriage, by the way, is the only thing in my life I’ve ever made a public vow about.)
So: this isn’t a Valentine’s Day message, it’s just a little love note from me to you: workaholism messes up marriages. It’s also bound to make you a less effective teacher because you’ll never have to figure out which work is most important — you’ll just have time to try doing it all.
Set a work schedule, and then go on a date. And if you’re not dating or married right now, skip the date part and read a book or learn to play an instrument or something like that.
Thank you to Crystal Stuart for being my best friend.