5 Things Mark Zuckerberg Has Taught Us About Family
Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, is now a household name, but his journey there has had its ups and downs. He launched what is now known as Facebook in 2004, responded to the negative backlash from the release of The Social Network in 2010, got married to longtime sweetheart Priscilla Chan in 2012, and recently welcomed his first child, a daughter named Max, into the world.
You may think of him as just another rich guy or, like many, you may be inspired by what he has done in the world of social media and technology. Regardless of your opinions on Mark, one thing is certain: Just as he revolutionized the way we communicate, he is revolutionizing the way we think of family.
1. Take your time before marriage
Mark met Priscilla Chan waiting in line for the bathroom at a fraternity party in 2003. They dated through college and survived the typical post-college life events (and then some) including Mark dropping out of college to focus on Facebook, dating long distance, making the move to California, and the controversy surrounding the release of The Social Network. The two didn’t marry until 2012, giving them nine years of dating to ensure it was the right choice. The decision to hold out on marriage is well founded considering the American Psychological Association states that 40 to 50% of marriages end in divorce.
2. Don’t let it be about money
Even with the overwhelming success of Facebook, Priscilla continues to contribute financially to the family by working as a pediatrician. According to Time.com, when both spouses contribute to the household’s finances it relieves some stress and makes financial decisions more collaborative. Mark also broke the norms by giving his bride-to-be a simple, solitary ruby engagement ring that is estimated to be worth a couple thousand dollars. The restraint and care put into the ring proved once again, that their love isn’t about the money.
3. Make your relationship the priority
Before Priscilla moved to Palo Alto to be with Zuckerberg she wrote a relationship contract for him to sign. One of the leaked items was, “One date per week, a minimum of a hundred minutes of alone time, not in his apartment and definitely not at Facebook.” When it comes to busy work schedules, kids, and personal time it can be difficult to find time for your relationship. Priscilla and Mark make it clear that their relationship comes first.
4. Put your family before work
Prior to the birth of their daughter Max, Mark announced that he would be taking two months of paternity leave. He explained his reasoning on Facebook, “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.” As a company, Facebook offers both new moms and dads four months of paid leave and while paternity leave is often an option for states and companies with this policy, many men pass up this opportunity. Mark’s decision to take the leave shows that he values his family and wants to be involved in the life of his new daughter. Studies show that when men spend time caring for children early on they are more involved in the years to come.
5. Be involved in the world
With the birth announcement of their daughter, Mark announced that he and Priscilla would give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares – valued at $45 billion – to charity over the course of their lifetimes. In an open letter on Facebook, Mark and Priscilla expressed their desire to use that money to better the world their daughter would grow up in. The money will focus on the improvement of personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people, and building strong communities.