I'm still new at this parenting thing but one trap I've noticed in my own life and as I've observed other parents is the lie that quality time is more important than quantity time with our kids. In our self absorbed and efficiency driven culture it is easy as parents to tell ourselves that our kids just need some 'quality' time with us. It easy for us to justify not spending time with our children as we point forward to (or look back at) special times where we will spend quality 1:1 time with our child. Here are some ways this plays out in life:
- It's OK if I miss another ball game as I'll schedule a breakfast to take my boy out on Saturday
- I've got to spend most of tonight in my home office working on this project, I'll make sure to come out to read and pray with the kids before bed
- The kids will understand that I've got to travel and be away from home for another night, as we had a really good family vacation together last month
- I'm going to be there for the opening night performance, so it's OK if I don't make it to the rehearsals
- I'll let the kids watch another DVD while I work on this project out in the garage, then we'll spend some time together
Parents - YOUR KIDS WANT YOU. They want your time, your attention, your affection, your approval. These things tell them that you love and value them. The old saying is true that LOVE is spelled TIME.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all we should do is sit by our kids every night while watching TV or playing video games (neither of those things are bad in moderation.) The 'what' we do while spending time with them does matter.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is one of my favorite verses on parenting. It seems to say that we need to be spending a large quantity of time with our kids and make it quality as well:
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Have you every fallen for the 'quality vs. quantity' lie as you parent your kids? I'd love to hear what you've learned in this area as I'm still figuring it all out as well!