A few years ago I made a personal decision before I left on our annual family vacation to Florida: I would fast from social media, texting, and email for 2 straight weeks. Literally!
I wanted my time with my family to be as quality as it could be. Nothing would get in the way of this. And, trust me, it was quality time alright. I felt connected to my wife and my children in a way I hadn’t felt in some time. Sad, but true. This was such a critical move for me. It brought me such focus that I decided to institute it for myself on every vacation in the future.
But as soon as that vacation ended, I was back in work mode. Completely connected and more distracted than ever before. As the year trudged on, until the next Florida vacation, I had moments where the thought crossed my mind- “I can’t wait to get to vacation so I can unplug and have some good quality time with my family again.”
It would be so nice to have this, I pondered. But I was missing something. I’d become so hyper-focused on quality time (the vacation to Florida where I would unplug again), that I underestimated the quantity of time. You know… the smaller, more frequent times together, like riding in a car, hanging out in the backyard, or just being together as a family with no agenda or intention, can be.
QUANTITY TRUMPS QUALITY WHEN IT COMES TO TIME!
Here’s what I’ve personally discovered in spending time together as a family- it’s not about quality, as much as it is about quantity. The amount of time we spend with our families supersedes the nature of the time we spend with our families.
Sure, quality time is important, and I’m not downplaying that at all. But if we are always looking for the next big quality time, like a vacation or event, with our families, we’ll miss the power in the smaller, more frequent, times with them.
SMALL MOMENTS ADD UP.
What I’ve learned over the past few years is that small moments add up.
Last night my 13-year old wanted to ride along with me to the store. I was headed out for a few items and she asked if she could come along. There was really nothing special about a trip to the grocery store. It was fairly small in significance and she and I will both forget that we took that trip together in a few short weeks. But it was time spent. Just here and I.
There’s power in small moments like this. They add up. Subtly and quietly they communicate something to our children: “I’m here.” “I want to be with you, even if we’re doing nothing at all.”
This is what we miss if our sights are always set on the big moments. The challenge for us is to take advantage of the smaller moments. To see their great significance. They add up to something much bigger than we can imagine.
THE GREATER THE QUANTITY, THE DEEPER THE QUALITY.
The more time we spend with our families, the deeper the quality will become. Something powerful happens when we spend an abundance of time with the ones we love. We develop a deep-seeded connection with them. The beauty of this is that when we have the big family vacations, they become more of a bonus than an end-all. They are way more fulfilling.
They act as almost an overflow of the abundant love that already exists.
THE GREAT CHALLENGE.
It’s not easy, in the fast-paced world we live in, to take time out to spend with the ones we love, even if it seems a little less than significant. Never underestimate the power of this. It adds up to something much bigger, as I stated earlier.
For me personally, it’s quite a task, with the schedule I have, to grasp the power of everyday moments with my family. I tend to set my sights on the big quality times with them. But everyday is a gift. Every moment is a treasure. The more time I spend with my wife and children, the more quality my time with them will become!
Have you found this to be true in your own life? How are you making quantity time more important?