Friday, October 16, 2009

Something to Think About--The GFW Equation

I wrote this about 6 years ago. It's one of those true stories that might just make you think a bit. I hope you enjoy it.

The GFW Equation

In the early 80’s, I had a friend named Lew Giesking who was the City Engineer in the small city in northern Iowa where I was the Chamber of Commerce Executive. Lew and I worked closely on a number of projects in the community, from planning a new swimming pool to the extension of infrastructure to a new Industrial Park that the Economic Development Corporation I also headed had purchased on the edge of town.

Our oldest sons were the same age and played on the same Parks and Recreation Baseball team. Occasionally, we’d schedule a meeting and would get together at the baseball field where our boys were playing. We’d have plans and documents spread on the hood of one of our vehicles and would be discussing the project at the same time that we were hollering out encouragement to our kids.

One particular day, as we were talking, I asked him a question. “Lew, I notice that your van has GFW Construction painted on the side of it. Now your name is Giesking, so that’s the ‘G’, but what does the F and W mean? Are those your partners?”

“No,” he responded with a smile, “They’re not. What GFW stands for is my priorities in life, God, Family and Work, in that order.”

Over the years, I’ve remembered that short conversation many times. What a wonderful way to try to live your life. As I think about it, at the time we were engaged in the “FW” part of it. We’d slipped away from our respective offices and ventured into the hot, muggy Iowa summer sun to share something with someone in our family while at the same time get a little work done.

But more importantly, we all sometimes tend to get our priorities a little bit lopsided. Today’s world tries to put an inordinate demand on us for work. We forget about why we work and all too often let what we do become who we are.

We can’t all paint “GFW” on the side of our vehicles. Maybe we need to make up a bunch of those bracelets that were popular a while back that said “WWJD” or “LiveStrong” but this time in big letters have them say “GFW” as a constant reminder of what our true priorities ought to be.

Because, maybe—just maybe--if we honored God and Family more by remembering what our priorities should be, then the Work part would go a lot better too.

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