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Governors Palin, Sanford


I listened to chatter over the airwaves. Talkshow host Armstrong William led a merry discussion on South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford. Armstrong could not contain himself: "How does Governor Sanford get rid of his Love Jones?" It was a question that was not easily answered. Listeners from South Carolina appeared irritated with this line of questioning. Many felt the governor had abandoned his wife, children, and the people of South Carolina.

At the same time, Governor Sarah Palin was busy steering clear of another ethics charge in her own state. Some people may view these circumstances as petty politics. However, the governors' situations have turned the spotlight on the difficulty of managing work ambition with one's own family priorities. Therefore, a deeper inspection will reveal how work priorities can bear down on an individual's personal and family life.


On June 24th, Governor Sanford arranged a press conference where he confessed a year-long affair with an Argentine woman. He was missing for more than six days from his office. At his press conference, political pundits argued Governor Sanford was attempting to save his job, not his family life. He is married and has four sons. Instead of a low-profile strategy, Governor Sanford actively engaged the media, describing his mistress as his "soul mate." Clearly, he had lost his mind. His wife Jenny stated, "I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal."

On July 3, 2009, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin surprised America as she announced her resignation as governor in July. This news created a shockwave in political circles. Was Palin run off or plotting a crafty strategy for the White House in 2012? Regardless of her specific motivation, a reasonable person could understand the priorities issues that Governor Palin faced as a wife, mother, and political figure. Many political analysts view her as a politically ambitious person.

Alaska columnist Michael Carey noted the popularity of Governor Palin as a media juggernaut: "She's gone from being our governor or a public figure in Alaska to being a national celebrity." However, her politic savvy has left her family exposed to public ridicule. Her family has endured through vicious rumors and negative press. When the stakes gets higher for these public figures in their professional life, it challenges the rest of their life.

The Major Issue

Many individuals in their careers fail to recognize the impacts of their work obligations on the priorities of their overall life. Making these priority decisions is difficult for most working adults. Yes, some people appear to handle this reality better than others. Many people believe that they can have it both ways - get what they want without giving up anything that matters to them. Bill Kemp, author of Peter's Boat, notes, "Driven by the satisfaction of doing 'the right thing, ' we enter these mazes that do not offer us a places to consider our personal needs or reflect on what appropriate limits we should place o our behavior."

Therefore, there needs to be a tradeoff between "living for today" and "living for tomorrow" if individuals are to achieve family balance. In fact, we cannot be truly satisfied as long as we have our souls torn in different places. Biblically speaking, this reality is summed up by the verse, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other . . ." Some folks appear to be happy on the outside yet torn to pieces on the inside by the demons of competing priorities. Consequently, the long-term effects of some tradeoffs can impact your health, marriage, and other relationships.


Living a life in the spotlight is difficult, and America has witnessed this fact play out in the lives of many famous people such as Governors Sanford and Palin. This article demonstrates how individuals need to consider the consequences of their work life on their personal and family life. As in the case of these public figures, the pressures of life can offer many distractions.

Consequently, it is important during the rat race to keep priorities in order lest one finds himself spinning in circles. Working adults should not cave in to the external pressures of others and squander precious time and opportunity. This concept of priorities involves making the appropriate choices on how the family spends its resources (especially time). Failing to accomplish this task will continue to produce confusion, misunderstanding, and lack of communication in your families. You don't have to settle for anything less than the best. Let's hope that it is not too late.

2009 by Daryl D. Green

By Dr. Daryl D. Green - Dr. Daryl D. Green writes on contemporary issues impacting emerging leaders in a variety of sectors (businesses, societies, global communities, et.c). He has over 20 years of assisting organizations. His hel...  

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