F ollowing I n my F ather ’ s F ootsteps AND WHAT IT TAUGHT ME ABOUT BEING A DAD F ather’s Day is coming up in June, and it’s always a day of reflection for me. Sure, I love being spoiled by my wife and kids, but for me, fatherhood is a concept be able to watch Austin and Walker grow up without any distance between us. Watching
them is a constant reminder of how important the father-son relationship was to me when I was a child. I try to keep in mind that I have a lot of influence, and
that runs a lot deeper than gifts and the quirks of biology. Being a father is one of the most important things in my life, and I think a lot of that has to do with how I grew up. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old, and my father left the family home at that point. He didn’t disappear, but he did move four states away to Kentucky. Looking back, I think the fact that he wasn’t in close proximity to me enhanced his power as a father figure. My father was the first person in our family to go to college, and also the first one to go to law school, and I felt compelled to impress him and make him proud. Because he was so far away, I worked doubly hard. As a kid, I decided the easiest way to impress him would be to follow in his footsteps and try to be a good citizen and a good person. So that’s exactly what I did. I followed my dad through college and law school, then started my practice and worked hard at that, too. Back in ‘97 when I began practicing law, it wasn’t uncommon for me to put in 80-hour weeks, every week for months on end. The first 10 years of Christmas Law Firm are a blur of hard work. It was fun and exciting, for sure, but it was also exhausting. That decade disappeared in the blink of an eye, and when the blink was over, I realized I’d changed. Though I still wanted to work hard, I was ready to introduce more balance to my life and maybe even become a father myself. Around that time, I met my lovely wife and we started our family. With my own far-off father in mind, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to
I’m constantly reevaluating my actions so that I can be the best lawyer and dad as possible. I’m still working on balancing those two things, but there’s no question that if I have any spare time, it becomes their time. One thing that I think helped me gain that perspective was having my kids a bit later in life, I’m approaching 50 now, and Austin was born when I was in my mid-30s. I think if my wife and I had started our family any younger, I might have wound up an absent father because I was so immersed in my work. Waiting gave me the space to learn from what my own father did and make strides to do things a bit differently with my kids. Plus, I’m more mature in the way I think than I would have been a decade younger. I can prioritize now and make better decisions about my work-life balance.
“I try to keep in mind that I have a lot of influence, and I’m constantly reevaluating my actions so that I can be the best lawyer and dad as possible.”
One of my greatest pleasures as a father has been seeing how tight-knit our family has become, in part because we have a set of shared core values: God first, then family, then work, in that order. My wife and I are both busy, but we keep ourselves grounded by reminding each other of those values when we’re struggling. Lately, we’ve been able to start translating those values to our children, and it has been a real blessing to see them follow our example. Ultimately, I wouldn’t trade fatherhood for anything. I love my little family and can’t wait to spend this Father’s Day with them. I hope you get to do the same! –Gary Christmas
FIGHTING FOR THE INJUREDchristmasinjurylawyers.com
Made with FlippingBook Annual report