Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The myth of quality time

There is quality time.  I understand the concept.  A line from a song from the tremendously underrated but superb Chagall Guevara comes to mind. 
             Daddy’s gone AWOL, absent without leaving.

So yes, just being there isn’t enough, there is such a thing as quality time and we should be striving for it with our children. 

The issue to me though is that we use it as an excuse for checking out too many other times.  If I just spent twenty great minutes with my kids (“great” as defined by me too often.), that becomes an excuse for checking out for the next 24 hours.  Why?  “Its quality, not quantity.” We’ve heard it so often that we forget what it means and make our own definition.  Being selfish, I then allow myself to spend 23 2/3 quality hours per day on myself or work.  When this becomes a pattern, not an exception, we’ve lost perspective, and our kids are losing dad.  Chagall Guevara continues in their song I referred to above:

I swear if he ever really held me,
they’d have to pry me off with the jaws of life.

“You don’t understand, you don’t know my schedule, my stress.  I have needs too you know.”

I do know.  At least somewhat.  I too am a husband, dad, employee, volunteer.  I also know that our culture teaches us to take care of number one first.  When you had kids, you agreed to give them your best.  They didn’t ask to come into the world, you asked them. 

Lets try to spend a week giving more time, and see how that works.
Here's a clip of Chagall Guevara live in England a few years ago.  Don't listen if you don't like it a little loud and in your face!


Arlee Bird said...

Never heard of that group, but I like it.
You are so right about the quality time and I believe this concept is passed down generationally in many cases.
My father was always around and involved.
I tried to do the same with my daughters. Even though I worked a lot of hours, I was fortunate to work close to home and school so I was there for many things and I would even bring them to work with me sometimes. I wasn't becoming financially wealthy, but I spent good times with my kids and now I see them applying the same values in their family lives.

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welcome to my world of poetry said...

We were always there for our children through the years, my late husband took interest in our youngest sons' soccer career(he turned pro at 18 yrs. and I always encouraged my daughter and her gift for dancing. I look back on those years with affection.
Loved the group by the way.


Micah said...

Sadly it's normal now for dads to be uninvolved with their children. They are either unengaged, or completely absent from their children's lives. And we wonder why there are so many 30 year old 'men', that act like 12 year old boys. It's because they were left floundering as a boy to try and find out for himself what it means to be a true man. I'm grateful to the men in my life who have stepped up and given me that male role model that every young man desperately needs.

Ron Easton for Dads UnLimited said...

Lee: You likely heard of Steve Taylor who was the lead singer of that band... Great to think about the generational possibilities of time usage. A legacy like that is a great one to receive and pass on. I haven't watched the video, but will!
Yvonne: Glad you loved them, but even more glad for the time you put into your children's lives! Your son played pro soccer? Maybe that's like playing pro hockey in Canada, almost everyone does :) Just kidding of course. Well done on his part.
Micah: I am glad to hear that you had more than one person living life loud in front of you. Now go and do likewise ;)