I cannot state forcefully enough how much I disagree with the sentiment embodied in the statement, “No success can compensate for failure in the home.” This statement is utterly trivial. Barring equivocation, success in one area can never compensate for failure in any other area. For example, no success can compensate for a bad driving record.

Then there’s that nonsense about people never wishing on their deathbed that they’d spent more time at the office. Let’s get one thing straight: Plenty of folks wish on their deathbed that they could have provided better for their family. Plenty of folks wish on their deathbed that they could leave more for their dependents. You don’t provide better for you family or leave more behind by spending less time at the office.

I had this argument a few years ago on a thread at T&S, and I finally just gave up, because the participants didn’t get it. They wanted to say that that the world would be a better place if nobody worked 100+ hour weeks just because that kind of a schedule had made the post’s author unhappy.

The commandment, “Six days thou shalt labor, and do all thy work” (Deuteronomy 5:13) is the red-headed step-child of the commandments; everyone wants to pretend that it isn’t there. But it is. We’re commanded to work. It’s that important. Moreover, the Decalogue commands children to honor their parents — it does not command the parents to honor their children.

Besides, you do more harm to children by not giving them siblings (because then they’ll never learn that they’ve got to clean up other people’s crap) than you do by serving as a good, hard-working role model who supports the family. Best I can tell, the 40-hour work week is a rather recent invention.

And honestly, there really are some things that are more important than “quality time” with the kids. Where would the United States be if John Adams (and others) had opted to spend “quality time” with his wife and children instead of spending years away from home in Philadelphia or Europe to serve the interests of our fledgeling nation? Whatever emotional scars John Quincy Adams bore from having an absent father, everyone alive is better off. (Maybe success elsewhere can compensate for failure in the home.)

Some people don’t like to work, so that the commandment to work requires some exertion. But if you like to work, then by all means, work!