What it boils down to, is value. What you value is where your time, energy and money will go. When you value something or someone you want to spend time pursuing whatever that is. You can see this vividly in the form of support for football. Home teams are highly valued so people pay the price and go to cheer for their team. If it’s gardening, bulbs will be bought and lovingly planted. The various flowers for the seasons will be selected and placed in a desired way. Money spent, time given and energy expended.
The bottom line for family is your children need your time and that will cost you. The most desired commodity in your child’s life is you. You will always be their favourite toy to play with even when they are older teens.
One-way to develop spending time with your children is to include them in what you are doing. If you are a gardener get them a shovel and let them dig with you. Talk to them as you pull the weeds and speak to them about the flowers as you work. Educate them. If you love it, chances are they will too.
Jim would always take the children out to wash the car. Everyone got involved. Yes, we all got wet and it probably took longer than if he did it alone. However, it was a family affair and we were spending time together. It also taught the children several lessons. Namely, work can be fun and is important. But it was done together as a family.
I would often engage the children in what I was doing whether I was cooking or baking. Children love to be close to Mom in the kitchen. Teach them to pour, measure and stir. Oh, things may not turn out perfect but they are engaged with you and that is more important. You are spending quality time with them. They will learn and grow in relationship with you. The cakes then seem to taste better and look more exotic too!
We would often play whatever sport was seasonal in the garden or down at a local field or school. The children loved it when Mom and Dad got involved in the game. Play with them even if it is only ten minutes.
For us, because of our life style and work our best time for family was regularly sitting at the table and having dinner together. Eating together without the television on will develop your child’s conversational skills. We would ask open-ended questions about their day and we would all share. Many times Jim would read to the children at that time. It was time together and time-shared that is so important to developing a happy family.
It is time to stop sacrificing family on the altar of materialism. Now is the time to evaluate our values and change our priorities if need be. To develop a culture where family is honoured we need to foster quality time together that will stand the test of time.