On my very first business card that I made for myself over 26 years ago was engraved “Time and Attention" – Keys to Family Strength. For some reason, I thought those were true words important to highlight. Now twenty six years later, after working with countless families and raising my own two children, those words still ring loud and clear to me. So for now, I’m digging into this thought.
Time and Attention – Keys to Family Strength
What is Time and Attention? Well, we all get 24 hours of time each day. What we do with that time is up to us. Time is a gift from God. Like other gifts such as money or talents, we can have a lot of it or a little of it. We can spend it all, waste it or use it carefully and use it for the good of others.
When it comes to families, which I define as parents living together with their children, time is an important resource. Giving time to our children and our spouse is a big deal. Giving focused attention where we are fully present with another human being is a big deal. To me, it is the biggest deal. It is a choice and it is emotionally hard work. It requires giving and sacrifice. Someone once said, “For children, love is spelled TIME.” There is nothing that says, “You are important, valued and loved like when someone gives you time and attention. As human beings, we grow and develop best by receiving quality time and quality attention from caring, loving people. Our children are begging for time and attention from their parents. Their behavior is speaking loud and clear. Will anyone notice?
I think we all know this time principle but unless we slow down, make a plan to prioritize our time management, put our screens down and start giving each other more time and focused attention; family and societal problems will remain.
How much time and attention is the right amount to give to our children and spouse? The answer is:
We give our time and attention to what is important to us. If we take the time to listen, learn and understand the needs of our children and spouse then we begin to know what we need to do. For some this requires small adjustments. For others, serious life change is in order.
I challenge you to read your children and spouse. What are they saying to you?