It has been said by many a busy parent- “It’s not the quantity of time, but the quality of time that matters”. Well, I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. I’m sorry, I know people will disagree with me on this, but hear me out.
Think about when you go to dinner with someone. Very rarely will your conversation turn deep right at the beginning. Even it is someone with whom you are very close, you still get certain pleasantries out of the way first before really going in deep. How many times have you stayed after a church activity with a friend because right as you were about to leave she dropped something heavy in the conversation? That’s because the required amount of quantity had been reached for her to feel safe enough to drop it. This is not a conscious decision most of the time. It just happens.
I listen to our local Christian radio station almost exclusively in the car, and the speaker was talking about how some of his best conversations with his teenage son have occurred when he is dog tired, and ready for bed. He had gone in to say good night and asked if there was anything the son needed------and well, they were up all night. He was cautioning us parents to not put those moments off. This really spoke to me, because by the time I’m ready to go to bed, which is very early in the evening by teenage standards, I am in no mood for a deep discussion. And, my kids know it….. It’s so easy for me to say- I’ve been with you all day, and I’ll be with you all day tomorrow, can we talk about it then? And you know what? It doesn’t ever happen. We as parents need to remember to be available for our kids. Even if it’s in the middle of the night and they want to talk about how hard Algebra is…….
Moreover, I think it’s especially hard to balance taking care of ourselves and our goals and dreams and still taking care of our children and even our spouse. We’ve all heard it said a million times- weekly date nights are so important for the marriage. Why??? Because quantity of time matters. My husband and I never really had a chance to do weekly date nights out when the older kids were little. We don’t have family around with whom we can regularly drop our kids. It’s something I plan to be for my kids- a regular drop point for babysitting- anyway, it made it difficult for us. We made a commitment when we were pregnant with our oldest child that I would stay home, and that meant we would have to sacrifice financially. Because of that, paying a babysitter, or even the expense of going out on a date weekly wasn’t really feasible. So, we didn’t have date night. We made it, obviously, but I really want to communicate that if you have a friend you can trade off, even every other week, or once a month it is very important. Recently, with the addition of our two youngest children, my husband and I decided that in order to survive all of these kids we MUST go out on date night. We aim for once a week, and it doesn’t always happen, but it happens more than not. It has done WONDERS for our marriage. We have a great marriage anyway, don’t get me wrong… but the quantity of quality time we’re now spending together has made us click more. We don’t always have deep discussions while we’re out… sometimes we barely talk…. but we just have a deeper connection because of the quantity of time.
So, if you’re busy with life- busy transporting the kids from one activity to the next, busy living your own life with your own social life, even busy at church, I want you to really pray about the quantity of time you are spending with your immediate family. If you’re gone more hours in the day than you’re home and awake- there may be a problem here. And, FYI- transporting them from activity to activity doesn’t count. If you’re transporting that much- your kids are too busy too. This is so easy to do in our society these days…..
In Bible study yesterday our leader said something that I wrote in my book and circled and drew arrows to:
If the devil can’t make you bad- he’ll make you busy.