A couple years ago I was at lunch with one of the most prominent software CEOs in Atlanta. I mentioned I had a baby at home at the time and we were talking about raising kids. He then went on to tell me a story of an entrepreneur that he really respected who he thought raised great kids. This CEO posed the question to the gentleman he respected: what was the best thing you did to have your kids turn out the way they did?
The answer was that his family had a place to go, in this case a little farm they owned two hours away, and spent many weekends there each year as a family. Here are some of the reasons he cited that having a place to go was so important:
- The kids were removed from their typical surroundings so they did more things together as a family instead of the typical hanging out with friends
- There was no Internet at the farm so most work had to be left behind for the CEO
- The family always had a few projects going on like fixing the barn or working on a garden, which brought the family closer together
Looking at the benefits, it is many of the same reasons companies hold off-site retreats for the management team.
This story from two years was brought back to me as I finished the Richard Branson autobiography last week. In it he mentions Necker Island, the private island he owns, as one of the best things he ever did for his family. My recommendation is to consider having a place to go on a regular basis to take the family and get away from the normal routine of daily life.