We Build Families, Too
Publication: Wisconsin Badger Builder / July – August 1999
Author: Bill Binn, WBA President
Last January at the NAHB Convention in Dallas, I heard something that really stuck with me. During the delivery of a Habitat for Humanity house, a young boy was asked how he felt, now that his family would have a home. He replied, “We already have a home. What we needed was a house to put it in.”
At this year’s Spring Board meeting in Washington, D.C. I heard NAHB President Charlie Ruma state, “Housing is such a noble profession. It builds families. It builds communities. Housing makes a difference.”
The very nature of our business is to provide shelter – houses where people can build homes, start families, raise their children and become active members of their communities – truly a noble profession.
The best part of our profession is that it’s one of the few where young people can work hard for a company, learning all they can, and actually get to the point where they can break out and start their own businesses.
What too often happens after you start a company is that it quickly becomes the main focus in your life. When you are on your own, or if you work in an environment that allows you to control your own financial destiny, most people believe that the harder you work, the more money can make. Some people translate that to “the longer you work, the more money you can make.” The temptation to work longer hours seeking monetary gain is usually at the expense of time with our families. Because of that, I have found, in reality, the saying should be, “The smarter you work…”
How can you learn to work smarter? The educational opportunities available to us as members of our local builders associations, as well as the WBA and NAHB, are seemingly endless. There are seminars and programs, as well as meetings and conventions, at all three levels. There are publications from local newsletters to state and national magazines filled with invaluable information, as well as all the products available through the NAHB bookstore. Add to that the networking opportunities of meeting people who may be in similar situations from all over the country. These are the tools that can help turn you from the working-longer-and-harder person into the working-smarter person. The main reward for learning how to work smarter is more time with our families.
An individual can have several opportunities to be successful in business, start a company, and then move on to start another, or branch out into a different direction. People have very successful second and third marriages. But your kids are your kids forever. You only have one opportunity to raise them.
A child’s first and most important teacher is a parent.
The same wise man who advised me on the birth of our first daughter, “The best thing a man can do for his daughter is to love her mother,” also told me that, “The best thing that you can do to help your child’s education is to get to know every one of his/her teachers on a first-name basis.”
Take the time to talk with your kids, not only to them. Get to know them. Get to know their teachers. Find out what they are being taught outside the home. Find out if they are really doing as well as you think they are.
We need to remember always that our families need to come first. I truly believe that the more time you invest in your kids as they are growing up, the better equipped they will be to succeed when the time comes for them to fly on their own.
We are the industry that provides shelter for families to build homes. It should be a given that our industry sets the standards for family values.