One $5 Bill or Twenty-Five $1 Bills-Which Would Your Kids Choose?
We live in a fast-paced world. Let’s face it, our families run in the fast lane. Parents have to work outside the home as well as fulfill the duties of chef, house custodian, landscaper, building maintenance, launderer, chauffer, administrator and administrative assistant, chief financial officer, disciplinarian, and entertainer in the home. Many parents also volunteer outside of the home to assist as coach, church volunteer, or some other community service provider. In addition, children lead lives filled with academic demands, athletic demands, artistic demands, church demands, community demands, peer demands, and family demands. All in all, raising children demands stamina and organization. In the midst of all this run around, parents can easily neglect to spend time with their children. But, children need our time more than they need a clean house and freshly painted walls. They need our undivided attention more than they need a beautifully landscaped yard or a schedule packed with activities. You may rationalize that, in the midst of all this run around, quality time with your child will suffice. You may think quality time with your child matters more than the amount of time you spend with my child. Unfortunately, that is just not true. Our children need a quantity of time with us; they need large blocks of time with us. In fact, we only find moments of quality with our children in the midst of large blocks of time spent with our children.
Think of it this way…. Imagine that I offered your 9-year-old one of two gifts: 1) one brand new, freshly minted, quality $5 bill or 2) twenty-five old, crumpled, wrinkled $1 bills. Which would he prefer? No brainer…he would choose the quantity of twenty-five $1 bills over the one quality $5 bill anytime…and, so would I. We know that quantity becomes more important than quality when we speak of paper money, but somehow we think about our time differently. In reality, children consider time the currency of love. Whatever your child sees as engaging the majority of your time will also be seen as the most valuable object in your life. If you spend most of your time watching sports, they will see sports as your highest priority. If they see you spending most of your time looking at your iPhone, they will see the iPhone as your highest priority. If they see you spending the majority of your time on family and them, they will know that you value them and family above all else. Within the quantity of time you spend with your children you will experience beautiful moments of quality time as well.
Think about your time. Do you spend time with your children? Do you feel like life is too busy to spend a quantity of time with your children? Then look over your schedule, prioritize your activities, and consider what you can cut out of the schedule to free up time for your family. After all, what does have the greatest value in your life—work, TV, a clean house, or the long-term happiness of your children?