Food for Thought: Quality Time

Food for Thought: Quality Time

by Ardith Hoff

A cartoon captured a child's imagination of what she'd no doubt overheard before.  Holding her doll while talking with a friend, she said, "Between the time spent going to school and doing my homework it's hard to spend quality time with my doll." Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul, Canfield & Hansen, 1997, p.213

Quality time to spend together is a problem for most families, especially when both parents work outside the home.  With children involved in more after-school activities than ever and more parents involved in fitness and civic clubs and other organizations, it is unusual for families to all be home at the same time. 

It has even become more difficult for families to attend church together.  More schools are scheduling sports practices and games on Sunday mornings.  Years ago, Wednesday nights were considered church night, and no school events were scheduled.  That is not the case any longer.  That makes it even more difficult for families to spend quality time not only with the family but also with their God.  Some parents have tried to make family and church time priorities, but that sometimes pits parents against their children who naturally want to be involved in activities with their friends.  They also are barred from participating if they miss a practice or a game.  It is understandable if that makes it almost impossible to fight the realities of helping children feel included at school and yet provide them with the kind of family life and religious upbringing they want to give their children.

While school activities are important and certainly can have a strong positive influence on children.  I remember when my own children were in school.  Everything was a negotiation.  Because I didn’t have the opportunities to be involved in afterschool activities when I was young, I was sympathetic to my children’s desires to be involved, but my husband and I did limit some activities in order to make sure our children maintained a balance between feeling included in school as well as in church activities.  It’s not easy, but I believe is worth the effort.

“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.” Psalm 128:3