In yesterday’s article, I brought up the topic of quality time and how the culture we live in seems to distract and justify the limited amount of quality time we spend with our kiddos. Before I continue with the additional distractions I faced, I want to clarify the difference between spending time vs quality time.
Taking a closer look into the story of Martha and Mary and their in-home visit with Jesus. Martha was a busybody. Continually driven to make sure that everyone’s needs were met and that the proper order of everything was completed, and when Jesus arrived, she wanted to make sure that she did her very best for her guest. Yet, when her sister did not join in aiding with the work that needed to be done, Martha became irritated and complained to Jesus “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40)
Although Martha was spending time with Jesus by having him visit, she was missing the most significant part of his stay, “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’”(Luke 10:41-42). Quality time. Martha was missing the difference between spending time and quality time.
The amount of time spent with your children is not what matters most. It is what you do with your time.
Here are the final changes that I had to overcome in order to give my children the quality time they craved.
Turn off the phone: Like a radar, kids are aware of how tuned in you are to what they have to say. Even though I do not have to be attached to my cell phone, I had to make a conscious effort to leave my phone in one location to avoid the temptation of initiating a dialogue with my friends while spending time with my kids. When I set aside my phone and tune into what is in front of me, my kids feel important and are more likely to open up and share what is on their heart.
1 night per kid per week: The biggest obstacle to overcome was in matching as close as possible the amount of time which Susan Wesley spent with each of her children. Since I am not even close to being able to spend an hour per day per child, I have taken the time to designate each child their own special night of extra quality time. This time has become something that I not only am able to treasure, but my children look forward to their own special night with mom.
Living in our high paced world poses a strong desire for more hours in the day, but even if those were given, I would have to argue that some how we would find a way to fill the time and still feel shorted hours.
There are multiple ways in which you can find extra quality time to carve out with your children such as cooking supper together, reading a book, playing outside, shooting hoops. These are just a few, but nothing comes close to that special one on one time that you can give each child.
Keep in mind that the changes I chose did not happen overnight. I had to make a conscious effort and go into the challenge knowing that occasionally, I would fail, but it’s how I rebound from the failure that matters most.
Just like Mary spending time at the feet of Jesus to absorb all that he had to say, when we rest and give quality time to our children, we are showing them that they are important, even more important than work or friends. In addition, you are teaching them to become better listeners when you set an example of what it truly means to listen and set aside your own desires to share time with your kiddos.
Have you thought about how you can implement your own quality one on one time with your own children?