Myth of Quality Time

Myth of Quality TimeYou hear about quality time a lot but I really think that quantity time with a person is really what strengthens a relationship. That’s when you really get to know somebody. You get to know their strengths and their weaknesses and that brings you closer. That’s what ‘Time Is Love’ is all about. –Josh Turner

What is more important, the quality of time with your family or quantity of time? We have spent the last 40 years trying to convince ourselves that quality time is what is important. But is it?

In the today’s time-famine culture, business comes first. Two working parents are the norm and finding time for anything is difficult. And so we rationalize that quality trumps quality and we give lip service to the relationships we have with our spouse and kids. We promise to spend some “quality time” with our kids, but rarely do.

A survey a few years ago said that the average child spends 30 minutes a week with his mom and 15 minutes with his dad, hardly quality or quantity time.

Twenty five hundred 5th graders were asked, “What is the one thing you want to have more of?” Their answer was “more time with my Mom and Dad!” And, it’s not the once a year trip to the zoo or amusement park they want, but just time hanging out, being together, being close.

“There’s no such thing as quality time; there’s only quantity time.” –Steve Schirripa

Has the myth of quality time become a self-serving rationalization for not spending time with family? Is it a way of diluting ourselves into shortchanging our children and spouses?

Do you want good kids? Then, spend some time with them. Real parenting takes place when we are together. Real parenting is spontaneous, and opportunities to teach life lessons happen when we are least expecting it. It’s something that can’t be planned and scheduled on your calendar like any other appointment. You can’t say, “I think I’ll give my family a little quality time Wednesday from 2 until 3.” Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

So, what can we do to have more time with our families, spouses and kids? How can we give them the time that they deserve? Here are a few ideas to try:

  1. Sit down and have dinner together. In my family everyone would agree that sitting down to dinner as often as possible, every night if you can, is one of our favorite times. It has become a valuable family tradition. It gives family members a time to talk, share, ask questions and feel part of something bigger than them. And, it connects you to each others lives.

“He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.” –Mark 6:31

  1. Leave the smart phone at the door. Like most people, I am tethered to my smart phone all day. But, when I walk into the house at the end of the day, I leave my smart phone at the door. Being connected 24 hours a day makes every call, text, email and Facebook notification more important than your family. Recently, I saw a guy at a hotel pool vacationing with his family. He was splashing around in the pool with his kids but he was wearing a Bluetooth headset in case some important call came in. Really? Stop it!
  2. Cut out the non-essential activities. Poker nights, Monday Night Football at the local pub with friends, girl’s night out and that extra Zumba class are great, but don’t make them an excuse for not spending more time with the kids. Some nights might be better spent at home playing games, eating pizza and watching TV as a family. Plan that special date night with your husband or wife this week, then next week take the same amount of time to plan an activity with your family.
  3. Make some time for prayer. Grace before meals, a bedtime prayer before lights out, and thanking God for the time we have together binds us as a family and give us a sense of gratitude for our blessings.

I often say that I have never met anyone who on their death bed said, “I wish I would have spent more time at work.” But, I have heard many people say that their greatest regret was not spending more time with their spouse and kids.

Time flies, kids grow fast. In the blink of an eye they will be young adults. Don’t miss the opportunities to spend some time together. Remember, there is no real “quality time” unless you have some “quantity time.”

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