In Australia, if children have a dad, they spend on average just 6 minutes per day in his presence. This is not quality time, just the quantity of time. So, reading books, playing and doing homework together may receive very little or next-to-no attention. This is not lost on mothers. They know, as society does, that father-figures can have an instrumental role in the development of young people. Perhaps it is even sadder that many mothers are also forced to compete in a rat-race world, simply to feed hungry mouths, pay the bills, and keep a roof over the family’s heads.
It can be a rather depressing reality; trying to balance the vital family time – the key investments for the future of our children’s lives – with paying for these ‘privileges’.
The irony is quality time should not be a privilege. It should be a human right. For, how is a young human being to develop appropriately where there is insufficient love through the investment of quality time? But this is the world we live in.
The simple thesis of this article is time equals love.
This is a harsh reality for every single one of us in the charge of bringing up children. And perhaps the growing trend of grandparents taking a more active role is one that ought to be welcomed, more and more. For, if the parent(s) are busy working for the family, and, there is a loving extended family structure available to care for the children, the children’s needs are catered for. They have loved ones willing and able to input the time required for their development needs.
TIME – THE KEY COMMITMENT FOR LOVE
Time has always been an incredibly valuable commodity. But, even more so, today it is ever more poignant when we consider the financial pressures, the busyness of life, and many crowding realities, including the constant barrage of new technologies. We cannot regulate life as much as we used to be able to.
Now, one thing that hasn’t changed is the cost of, and choice for, the time spent.
We, as always, have the choice regarding our time. We pay a cost for the things we don’t do, and it is hoped that the costs are minuscule if we are doing the important things. And our values (our real values) will dictate where our time goes.
Time, then, is a key indicator of what we love. What we pour our time into is that which we love. If we love our work, we work long hours and our commitment is unstinting; our purpose is derived from our work and from our work we have meaning for life. If we love our families, certain sacrifices are made to protect those vital hours required in the nurture of our families. And more than that, we ensure we are psychologically present within our family space.
Life gives us very many options, but our choice must be wise. We cannot have it both ways. Of course, we know this. And if we, like most people, have come to a point of needing to decide what must give, hopefully it is our most important relationships that will become the benefactors of the changes only we can institute.
This is where commitment breaks away from our wishes.
We can wish as much as we like, but unless we are prepared to truly make the changes we need to make, nothing will change.
Our families and our children deserve our time. The fact is time equals love. And despite the pressures that confound us, our love helps us to ensure we find the time.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.