Three years ago, and with 5 kids at home, my husband left the world of business
to become a teacher because he discovered that his "career was not as
important than he thought it was." I became a teacher too and during our
first year of teaching our combined salary was half of what his alone had
been.However, our family is very happy and our kids love having him
at their high school as a teacher. He knows their friends and their world -
something he didn't know when he was working and traveling in his previous
career. His direct influence in their lives is invaluable. I count
my husband as an amazingly successful man who will look back on his life with
There was a nice writeup of Christiansen in BusinessWeek a few weeks ago.
RE: Diligent Dave"Teachers who never get rich? My brother-in-law
is leaving elementary teaching this spring at age 58. His annual salary is in
the mid-$80,000's. This is a LOT more money than I've EVER made being
self-employed. Let's stop perpetuating the "poor" teacher
myth."While the example of your brother-in-law does show there
is an exception to every rule (average salaries for teachers are indeed much
lower than professions that require comparable preparation), I don't think
that was the point Utah Teacher was trying to make. I believe he was saying
that he was o.k. making less money if it meant spending more time with his
family, which is one of the main reasons many teachers get into the profession.
Christensen's book (if it is like his other books and articles) will likely
be preaching to the choir for those teachers who pick it up.
May I gently object to making a link between family size and important church
callings? My dear wife nearly died after our second child was born. After a LONG
wait, we were eventually able to adopt two more. Others may look down their
noses at our small family and our slight financial success, but they do not know
our circumstances. It is possible that the time we could not spend with children
contributed to such financial success as we've enjoyed, but we'd trade
it all for the joy others share with a quiver full of children and scores of
Teachers who never get rich? My brother-in-law is leaving elementary teaching
this spring at age 58. His annual salary is in the mid-$80,000's. This is a
LOT more money than I've EVER made being self-employed. Let's stop
perpetuating the "poor" teacher myth.Some LDS leaders are
first spiritual. But not most. Not many of them know their scriptures all so
well. A few do. But, yes, men of means have long been among those "called to
serve". Their means help make that possible. My last missionary companion
made good money as a health professional, served as a mission president, now is
a GA.Compare General Authorities. Many who have served in the First
Presidency and Twelve have had smaller families. Many have just 2 or 3 children.
A few (Packer, Nelson) have had 10 children each. Eyring in the First Presidency
has 6. Most have 2, 3 or 4 children. Many of them are of my parents' and
inlaws' geneation (who had 8 and 12 children respectively). So, GA family
sizes (esp. 1st Presidency & Twelve) are comparatively low.
I won't be reading CC's book because it doesn't interest me.
Thinking Fast & Slow as well the Power of Habit are fascinating.The whole obsession w/ celebrities is not just an LDS thing; it, sadly, is par
for the course in 21st century America.Personally, the whole wealth
argument above is silly. Both viewpoints have merits. Callings IMO have less to
do with Economics, some to do with Geography, and alot to do w/ Psychology.
The Mormon Tycoon stereotype is real. And people get trapped all the time here
in Zion.Business failures and bankruptcies are high in Utah, not to
mention the affinity fraud and multi-level marketing schemes.Thirty five
years ago at the U they were studying wealth a family size among LDS men. The
study suggested that Stake Presidents were wealthier and had smaller families
than Bishops. And Bishops were wealthier and had smaller families than their
congregants.Causality was never established but the point was an
interesting one.But it is hard to deny that 45-year-old mission presidents
aren't poor men struggling in their careers. They've made big money
in order to do that.And the choice of leaders of student branches would
indicate that the church would rather have rich people lead the impressionable
young adults...than an honorable but bright brother who is a shoe salesman.
Dale: Maybe you can shed some light on how GA's become rich after they are
called to serve in the red seats?Why should anyone be ashamed of
being successful in their endeavors? People try to get Romney to denounce his
success in life. Why should he? There is nothing wrong with being successful, in
fact, scriptures support it.It's sad when Mormons start eating
their own in the race for the "Holy Thumper" Award.
I agree with runner. The message of our mormon culture seems to be "first be
successful in temporal things and all things spritiual will be added"
instead of the other way around as taught in the new testament. Most GA's
are rich or became rich after called to serve in the red seats.
Dear Runner: Maybe you should get out of Chandler and see what the real world of
Mormonism is all about. I've had Bishop's, Stake President's etc
who were all blue collar workers. They didn't have much in the way of
monetary items, lived in modest homes, drove older vehicles too.They
were honest, humble and dedicated to the Lord. I'm not sure if
you ever listen to Gen Conf but I see examples all the time of "regular"
folks being talked about. It's sad that you try to lump everyone in with
your fascination of "celebrities" in the LDS church.I would
also direct you to the parable of the talents.
Dear Runner: I don't think we know that those who are financially
successful have neglected their families. It is not a given.
The other ironic thing about the message of this book is that it is written by
an LDS scholar and will while it is intended for all careers, all walks of life,
it will certainly resonate in the LDS culture. But therein lies the irony.
Because in the LDS culture, we love our celebrities, our famous Mormons.
Furthermore, look at those we hold up or those who are honored in our wards,
stakes and culture. Ask yourself, if your stake president isn't wealthy or
at least well off and if he didn't work long hours or travel extensively to
get there? Look at those who serve as mission presidents. How did they get to
be in their current financial secure position? Even look at those who are
quoted or held up sometimes in general conference...Those people with a long
list of temporal accomplishments.I often wonder why we don't
acknowledge the faithful parents who consistently serve in the church and are at
every ball game and are there for every scrapped knee? Instead, we have to have
our heroes and our celebrities - Those who have paid the price of family
neglect, and we feed into it.
Some of the best advice I have ever received, was on the Harvard Business School
campus, fall of 1998, LDS singles get-together dance and weekend of speakers.
We asked Richard Bushman how we, as young people, could become like the rich
and famous LDS families out there (you know their names), and have wealth in
this life and the next------ and I will never forget his response, "Your
career is not as important as you think it is." I personally think very
few people are balanced in this life. And we are suppose to fail.And
some things are more important to fail at than others.
Just a reaction to "Marxist's" comment above. He asks: "Does
our system, i.e., capitalism, encourage the kinds of behaviors Christensen
defends?" Marxist answers: "No."But capitalism allows
the kinds of behaviors Christensen advocates. That's the key. Capitalism is
neutral. Its objective is neither to encourage nor discourage good behavior,
only to reward behavior that conforms to its rules of reward for work.We as individuals are the ones responsible to bring to capitalism a sense of
right and wrong, of value-laden behavior.The same is true of
"equality." It is, at root, an empty idea. Only if we bring to it a
moral content does it have meaning.
Also consider life below Miller's level. Lots of guys like me have had to
work near 80 hour weeks to hold onto jobs - pure desperation, neglecting our
home responsbilities. Lots of us have been there. We need, to use the words of
a GOP wonk, a kindeer, gentler capitalism if we must keep same.
On their face Christensen's ascertions are dead on. As I approach the end
of my life I am most concerned about what I've done right and what
I've done wrong as a parent and husband - no question. But does our
system, i.e. capitalism, encourage the kinds of behaviors Chritensen defends?
The answer is no. Consider the shady markets of financial derivitives which
made so many bankers filthy rich, leaving a wrecked economy in their wake.
These guys felt DRIVEN to do what they did because capitalism defines success as
accumulation, and failure as poverty, or at least being less well off. I
don't deny personal responsbility, but systems also matter.
Looking forward to reading this book. He is a great writer and his other
articles are great think-abouts. Go check out his website and click on the links
to those articles. You won't be disappointed.
I'm very interested in reading this book. One of the main reasons I chose
to become a teacher was so that I could be there for all of those things
mentioned in these articles. I knew I wouldn't get rich but I would be
home when my kids are home and have the summer to spend with my wife and kids.
It has been a good life and I'm happy with my choices. I love teaching and
love what it brings to my family. I only wish we could get more men in the
profession and that our legislature would see this as a way to bring stability
to our families, state and neighborhoods. "How will you measure
you life?" is a great question we all should ask.