In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo is determined to not be like his father. He tries so hard to be everything his lazy fatheris not. Sadly enough, Okonkwo goes to the opposite extreme. He becomes a workaholic. He has ideals and works hard to make those ideals a part of life. He has never understood how his father could be so lazy.
Okonkwo and his father represent two extremes. There is no balance in either man's life. Okonkwo is so determined to be unlike his father until he abuses his family, his wives and children, in order to keep them from being like his lazy father.
Okonkwo cannot relax. On the other hand, Okonkwo's father does nothing but relax. Okonkwo works hard to make a name for himself. Okonkwo's father already has a name for himself, but it is nothing for which to be proud. He owes everyone in the tribe and then some.
When the white man comes in and tries to change the tribal views, Okonkwo cannot handle it. As things fall apart, Okonkwo gives up and hangs himself. Sadly enough, he will be buried without the honor he worked so hard to achieve. In the end, he will be buried exactly as his father was, without honor, and that is what he tried so hard to prevent from happening.
Neither of the men win. The story in itself teaches a valuable lesson about compromise. There should be a happy medium. Finding the balance between work and play is essential to having a happy life.