This weekend, after some conversations with my daughter’s schoolteachers, I felt the need to sit her down and tell her that she was the most important thing in my life. She looked at me earnestly, a little surprised. “Even more than work?”
Those four words have me reeling. My 6-year old girl believes that I am more attached to my work than to her. Meantime, in the academic recession more than ever, higher education is under the impression that it should be in full possession of its employees’ lives, and that to be a scholar is to be naught else.
As a still-untenured faculty member, I find myself struggling with the promise I have just made to my daughter: “I promise I will try harder to spend more time with you” (note the lengthy sentence construction). I find myself planning ahead, contemplating the international teaching trip in the summer, scheming for new publications once the book is finished, and filling up boxes in my planner.
Those are the boxes which also say, “Sorry, honey, I have to finish this;” “honey, please can you go and play in your room?” and “Raihana, I need to focus.”