Grace Essen: Dad does not want to be with us

Grace Essen: Dad does not want to be with us

Monday, January 4, 2016 12:30 pm


Grace Essen

Grace Essen

Grace Essen

“It was ego. It was pride. It was power.” Those were the exact words of George Del Canto as I sat watching with keen interest an interview he granted Muyiwa Olanrewaju of Turning Point International. International banking was George’s world – and he thrived in it. Describing life in the business world, this was what he had to say: “It was success. It was trophy. It was status.”

George admitted to being obsessed with money. “Money was my god,” he said. “I think that was inside me from the get go, early on. I thought that money was really something that people were going to look at you differently if you had it.”

As a young graduate fresh from college, George was set to make a name for himself. In the course of his work, he travelled extensively and was relentless in his pursuit of making money; there was no stopping him. Even after marriage, nothing changed, George continued to work at a frenzied pace, he had no idea the price he was paying. But his wife and three children did.

How could he let go of what was most important to him? “The money was still good. The money was still good.” That was his driving force.

“’Here I am traveling, working really hard to make money so I can give you nice things,’” George explained to his family. “And I thought that that should just be a normal understanding that they could – they could see that. Unbeknownst to me, to them it was like, ‘no, dad does not want to be with us.’”

In 2000, while working in London, George and his partners developed a business concept and found a potential buyer for it. It would be a multi-million dollar deal that would put George right where he wanted to be. In his mind he was going to become a king of the world.

The deal went through. George was employed by one of the largest organizations in the world. What else could he ask for? But their good fortunes didn’t last very long.

The company was Enron. You would recall in 2001(just a year after George’s big break), the Enron Corporation – the billion-dollar empire, the world’s dominant energy trader, which appeared unstoppable according to New York Times, was brought down by scandal in which many executives were indicted for various charges and some were later sentenced to prison. The scandal eventually led to its bankruptcy – the largest corporate bankruptcy in American history at the time. It was said that the day Enron filed for bankruptcy, the employees were told to pack their belongings and were given only 30 minutes to vacate the building.

Many are so consumed with their work; they don’t even realize their families have disintegrated. Children are growing so fast these days, thanks to technology, for many daddies are never around for proper guidance, marriages are falling apart, health challenges are on the rise – men in their thirties dying of heart attack? Should bitter experiences force us to remember the people we left behind, like George?

George became a casualty, and feared the fallout would ruin his career since anyone remotely associated with Enron would not be allowed to go back into the financial markets because of the scandal. He practically hit the bottom.

Everything turned out zero. He had to face the truth about who he had become. “That’s when I started realizing … It was all about me. It was all about me,” said George. “I wasn’t really thinking about my family, what was good for them. I wasn’t thinking about others, how I was improving their lives, how anything that I was doing was for the benefit of anyone else outside of George Del Canto.”

With the holidays over, we are all out on the streets – the hustle continues. For many, there was no holiday at all. It was all work, work and more work. Today’s discussion, truly, is not directed at moms. I agree women today work extremely hard, and spend hours away from home too, but you would agree that on the average, when a woman goes to work, she never forgets to check on the children and the household. But men are more likely to get lost in the crazy world of business and not remember ‘where the children are,’ remember I said more likely. They come home alright at the end of the day, but most times with heart and soul still at work. Business talks continue over phone and on social media at dinner. Phones ring at odd hours.

Many are so consumed with their work; they don’t even realize their families have disintegrated. Children are growing so fast these days, thanks to technology, for many daddies are never around for proper guidance, marriages are falling apart, health challenges are on the rise – men in their thirties dying of heart attack? Should bitter experiences force us to remember the people we left behind, like George?

Life after the international financial scandal forced George to make some adjustments. George said he decided to put God first in his life; he got back on his feet and started his own business. He also cherished every moment he had with his family. Seven years later his wife died from cancer. George has since remarried and he makes a priority to spend time with his new wife and their family.

So, when you’re off to work, what’s your family thinking?

Please share your thoughts. Thank you!

You may reach Grace via email: gracessen@gmail.com. You can also follow her on twitter @GraceEssen and also follow her blog @Mum2MumAfrica.com.


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