Put Family Ahead of Business (Video)

Peter Schneck sold a thriving ad agency when he realized it was keeping him from being in a close relationship with his son.

PETER SCHNECK: I started a business in 1980, an advertising and marketing company, in a little tiny berg which at the time we thought was just perfect fodder for a small regional agency.

And we sat unknowingly on the verge of the Internet and all the computer communications that came. All of a sudden, we found that it didn't matter where you worked. And if you could deliver good ideas and good service, your geographic location meant nothing. So what had been intended to be a relatively small regional agency suddenly burgeoned to be something quite different with clients on both coasts.

HATTIE: What year did it hit you 'I need to sell this business' or 'I want to sell this business'?

PETER: It was kind of a realization. I would say, circa 1993, '94, in there. The company had grown substantially year over year, revenues were growing, relationships were growing, the number of clients were growing. And we suddenly came to realize two things — one was that in order to continue to grow — and we had plenty of invitations to do so — there were going to be a lot more airplane trips and a lot more times on opposite coasts and far away, which created both management and personal challenges.

The other thing was I had a personal revelation that our son was getting taller and taller and taller. And I'd see him in this window as I was departing, you know, kind of waving good-bye, and his head level kept going up and up and up. And I suddenly realized I was missing the intervals. I was missing the time in between the recognition of those spaces.

I came home from one of these trips and said to my wife, 'The kid's 13 years old. He's gone in five years. Do we want a bigger company, do we want more zeroes in the checkbook, or do we want a family relationship with our son?' And she was feeling a lot of the same anxieties I was in terms of just the tenor and the intensity of work.

This video serves as an illustration of the pitfalls of wealth in "Concern for the Wealthy (Luke 6:25; 12:13-21; 18:18-30)" in the Theology of Work Bible commentary on Luke. It also serves as an illustration for the Theology of Work overview article "Balancing Rhythms of Rest and Work."