22 February 2012

Quality or Quantity?

Last weekend was one for the record books. With the exception of June and July, I can't remember a recent weekend that was better for our family. We didn't do anything special, in fact there were times when we didn't do anything but sit on the floor and laugh at the silly antics of our boys.

The height of our rest together came Sunday night when we played hide-and-seek before bath time. It's the best when our two year old counts with his eyes open and runs to your hiding place with as much joy as if he didn't know where to look; or even better, he is so excited about his new ability to count to ten that he counts along while he's hiding nearby.

We haven't laughed like that as a family for months. It was quality time.

I'm wondering though, do our boys care whether we're laughing and having a grand time, or would they simply prefer the presence and attention of their parents?

Let me digress for a moment. When I was doing my student teaching, I tried to make connections with each class - that is, getting to know each student a little so I could teach effectively. It was interesting to observe, however, that I was kept at arms length most of the time. There were a few who seemed to enjoy my company, but it was very difficult to reach any sort of meaningful level of relationship.

Of course it was only a few weeks out of their school year that I joined them, and to be honest I think that's why they didn't let me in - they knew I was leaving.

Sure, I have students in my own classes who I can't reach personally, but they're the exception. And most of the time our interaction is limited, there isn't much quality time to be had. But that's just it, I'm there every day.

It's the same with my children. Even the most insignificant moment is meaningful because we're still together. I am led to believe that more and more small interaction is what it takes to create those quality times we all want.

"Dad, will you do this puzzle with me?" (Then do the dishes.)
"Dad, play with me!" (Then change clothes.)
"Dad, tell me a Thomas story!" (Then turn on the car radio - or not.)

It's amazing how often getting the correct order of operations will turn into deep experiences, after all, insignificant moments don't really exist - remember?


KarenG said...

Hi! I'm visiting from the A to Z Challenge sign up list. Nice to meet you! Your post brings back memories of when my kids were little. Laughing is good! Laughing and having fun is what memories are made of.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We can do the same for our spouses.

Christine said...

Hi! I'm also visiting from the A to Z website. I love all the beautiful pictures on your blog. I wanted to comment on this post because my husband and I have been pondering this very question of quality vs. quantity.

Right now, his job requires that he be out of town most of the time. Sometimes he works seven days a week for 3 months straight. Since we homeschool, we have the flexibility to visit every week, so for 3 nights they get to see him for a few hours. When he's only working 5 days a week, he comes home on weekends.

We feels blessed that, in this economy, he even has a job. But he is forever wondering if he is screwing up the kids. When I was growing up, my dad was home every ight but emotionally unavailable. This was devastating to me. But my husband gives everything to the kids when he's with them, and they feel loved. So I suspect that the best answer is that if quantity isn't an option, quality is a must!

Sorry for the ramble. Love your blog, and looking forward to the A to Z!

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