Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it but you can use it. You can’t keep it but, you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back. -Harvey McKay
Point To Ponder:
Do you unintentionally allow the world to dictate your time and priorities?
Make a point this week to take control of the time and priorities, and enjoy uninterupted quality time with your family and friends.
Last week, as I attempted to master “The Juggle,” I had an epiphany. It occurred on Tuesday afternoon when my son Durant woke up from his nap, which meant my work day officially ended. He woke up perfectly happy and excited to see me, which of course made my day. So, after playing with him for a while I brought him into the office so Catherine and I could complete a few more tasks before calling it a day. As we began talking and my attention was diverted from him to my work, he instantly started fussing and grabbing my face to look at him, even though I brought his favorite trash truck and toys in the office. I didn’t get it! The only thing that changed from earlier was that I was talking to Catherine, and as soon as I focused on him again and stopped talking about work, he was perfectly content.
Within seconds, it all made sense to me. Durant didn’t care if he had a hundred of his favorite toys to play with, the bottom line was that he wanted my attention and my time more than anything else. After all, I hadn’t seen him since I put him to bed the night before, nineteen hours before!
After Catherine left, Durant and I went outside to play in the sandbox where he was in good spirits. He actually didn’t care if I played with him, he simply wanted me close and not distracted. In fact, the second I looked at my iPhone to check a text or email, he would start getting grumpy. I really do think that if he could talk in complete sentences he would’ve screamed “MOM! STOP WORKING AND PAY ATTENTION TO ME….and THROW THAT STUPID COMPUTER AWAY!” I can’t say that I blame him one bit.
That night, as I thought more about the message from Durant, it reminded me of the time I took the ‘Love Language’ quiz, which identified that my primary love language is quality time. Don’t get me wrong, I also value and very much appreciate words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch (especially a foot or neck rub 🙂 , but I’d take spending uninterupted quality time over them all, which leads me to my next opinion.
I feel certain that spending quality time is a societal challenge and is actually under attack, given that the internet provides 24/7 access to work and any desire of the body, mind, or spirit, television can be seen at all hours of the day and extra curricular activities are offered seven days a week. I can remember when the work day was actually 9-5, the Star Spangled Banner would play at midnight, just before the television would turn to a staticky screen, and there were no activities on Wednesdays or Sundays.
Don’t get me wrong, I confess that I am preaching to the choir, as I have an extremely difficult time turning off the work switch and get very easily distracted. I also understand that Durant is 19 months old and has to learn that he is not the center of the universe. There are plenty of times I wish a new toy would distract him long enough to give me a break, but the reality is that I need to be overjoyed that my son wants my attention…After all, there will be a day when my presence alone will embarrass him! Furthermore, the internet and television provide many benefits that I access everyday, but with that said, I am also acutely aware that just because something is available and happens to be socially acceptable doesn’t mean that it’s good, healthy or something I should or need to take part in.
Rejecting many of our societal norms is like climbing an uphill battle, but I believe, with every fiber of my being, that denying the daily, consistent distractions that keep us from spending quality time with one another is the best gift we can give to ourselves, to our families, to our community and to the greater world.
In conclusion, time truly is our most valuable commodity. The question becomes how will we spend our time? As I reflect on last Tuesday, I realize the best time of my day was when I dedicated my full attention to Durant and my family. In addition, I recognize that as long as I plan to live a big and full life, I will have to master “The Juggle.” However, I must never lose sight of the most important ball of all, “quality time.”
We think you might also enjoy:
- We love Oprah’s “Friendship is About Quality Not Quantity.” http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Friendship-Is-About-Quality-Not-Quantity . She gives us 3 great ideas to deepen the quality of our relationships!
- Excerpt from The Five Love Languages with 4 tips on showing love through quality time: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/2009/01/speaking-the-love-language-of-quality-time/