Art Linkletter, in the introduction to Truett Cathy’s book “It’s Better to Build Boys Than To Mend Men” shares this anecdote at the conclusion of it. He writes, “I will never forget the gasp from my TV audience when O asked a six-year-old boy what he’d take to Heaven if he had his choice. He replied, ‘My mother and my dad, because I think they would have more time for me up there.’”
We live in a world of busyness and conflict. Often the busyness of our leads brings unnecessary conflict. Single parents, two parents working outside the home plus, children, plus life equals full days, often not enough sleep, activities, activities, activities and the busyness mounts, sometimes to a seemingly insurmountable level. It’s not: insurmountable.
From the time we were married, over 42 years ago, the discussion about spending time with your child(ren) most always involved the “quantity vs. quality” time argument. You know how it goes. I just heard a young executive being interviewed on a TV talk show making the argument. I paraphrase a bit but he asserted, with a great deal of confidence, that “my wife and I both work outside the home and we don’t have a lot of time with the kids, so we make sure the time we spend together is ‘quality time.’” Hogwash! It’s not a matter of quality it’s a matter of priorities.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand there a seasons or periods of life which demand, by necessity, to commit more time to our employment, our church, an activity of some sort, but the parents that fails to keep their children central in their focus will regret it. It may be a regret driven by disaster that manifests itself in the life of your grown child in some devastating ways.
There is no perfection in parenting. Not one of us will see our children grow in to adults and be without the feeling “I could have (should have) done more.” The answer is yes, we could have and should have! But don’t let that imperfection of motive and action deter you from adopting a commitment, that is reflected on your calendar and in your day-to-day decisions, about how you’ll spend your time.
Your sons and daughters live in a world that is always competing for their attention. Sad thing is we often assist the competition by how we allow our children to spend their time (eg. peers, TV, computer games, videos, the internet etc). The competition has no interest in helping to shape your child to grow into an adult that will be unselfish, patient, kind, forgiving, and joyful. You do. The competition will not live with the consequences of the time you spend (or don’t spend) with your children when they are grown. You will. The competition does not care into what kind of adult they grow into. You do. Make sure you make the time, take the time, schedule the time, and give up some of your time to invest heavily in the lives, minds, and habits of your child. They need you!
Written by: Perry Coghlan, Co-Founder/Co-Director of SHAP.