Last night I saw a documentary about a company that allowed babies in the office for a month. The experiment was to see if babies would add or detract from their parents' performance at work.
It's a cutting edge idea. The outcome, perhaps surprisingly for some, was that the babies enhanced the workplace. They brought out the sense of fun, joy and spontaneity that adults have lost. They enhanced well being and team spirit in the office.
In fact, the project was so successful, that the company now allows babies under 12 months to come to work every day with their parents and it has opened a creche for pre-school children.
What struck me was one man in particular: on the first day of the month long experiment, he was annoyed by the noise and by the fuss. He was annoyed that he had to miss his normal train home in order to get the work done, all because one of his colleagues had her baby at work and he had to pick up some of the slack. At the end of the month, he was sad to see the little girl leave and he had become an advocate for the programme.
We are not islands, it is not the commission, the prestige or the promotion that gives us our deepest sense of worth. We thrive when we live and work in community; even if we have to give more of ourselves in order that others in the community may flourish too. It is a spiritual paradox that in giving, we receive much more. The experience of this man showed that principle in action.