Friday, September 5, 2008

Family Friday! The Family That Plays Together Stays Together

Well better late than never! It has been one of those days.

Do We Value Our Family Time?

Family time is something we all say we value, but few of us actually experience.

Surveys suggest that most families rate time together as their number one priority. Those same surveys show that fathers spend only a few minutes a day with their children. In his book If I Were Starting My Family Again, John Drescher wrote about a study of 300 seventh and eighth-grade boys who kept detailed records of how much time their fathers spent with them over a two-week period. Most saw their father only at the dinner table. A number didn't see their fathers for days at a time. The average time father and son were alone together was seven and one-half minutes a week.

There are several excuses that we use to justify our lack of time together as families:

We excuse ourselves by saying, "We don't spend much time together, but our time is quality time." This makes me wonder what one minute of "quality time" per day might include. Perhaps you will agree with me that quality time cannot exist apart from quantities of time.

Another argument we use is: "My kids are young. If I'm not around that much for the first few years, it won't matter." This attitude fails to take into account the fact that many opportunities present themselves only once and only for a moment. A child is only two for one year. Toddlers do not remain toddlers for long. We must seize every opportunity to be together because none of us knows which moments are going to be locked forever into a child's memory. And none of us knows which experiences will mark turning points in a child's life.

A third excuse is: "I'll make it up to them later. There's plenty of time. I'll build my career now so that when they're older we'll have plenty of money to spend on activities we all enjoy." This argument is, in a word, foolishness. Who really believes that we'll have more time in a few years than we have now? Busy lifestyles don't change when we reach a certain age; they just become more deeply ingrained. We all have twenty-four hours in a day and what we do with those hours speaks volumes about what is important to us.

If we have no time for our children while they are young, they very likely will have no time for us when we are old. We ought to make the most of each opportunity (Ephesians 5:16). Be a part of your children's lives; make family time a priority. Schedule plenty of time together so quality experiences can happen. Your family is a gift to you from God. Don't say, "I'll make it up to you later." Spend time with your loved ones today.

If you'd like to participate in Family Friday with me:

  1. Write your own post on your blog about anything to do with spending time with your family, it can be things your family does, tips on family time, ideas for family time, creating family memories for your kids etc.
  2. include a link in your post, when the graphic is finished I will get that up and running.
  3. come back and sign in with Mr. Linky, linking to your specific post (not just to your blog), so we know you're participating!

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Sweet Mummy said...

Hiya Tammy - this is a great post. I agree with you. If you establish family time as a habit when they are young, that will likely be easier to keep doing when they are older. I see the 'home' years as essential, from newborn through high school. If you miss those teachable moments along the way, you can't make them up, that's for sure.

I've got my FTF up, and linked!

Melissa said...

Great post Tammy! I am very fortunate, my husband works from home and I homeschool, and have for over 9 years now. So we are always together 24/7 and we all do things together as a family. Even though our children are teenagers, one just graduated this past May, and they still love to do things with us.