As a child, I remember my parents being busy with running a small business and fixing up houses. More than that, I remember slivers of time when my parents paused between all of the busy-ness and business to do something small with me or to make a small gesture that went a long way.
Those small gestures were as simple as 10 minutes out throwing the baseball with my dad or a thoughtful treat from the grocery store when my mom arrived home with the groceries. But they mattered – they told me that my parents were thinking about me or could pause to take time to let me know that I mattered.
As I got older, that “showing me I mattered” morphed into mentoring me with simple things: how to paint a garage the right way, or mow the lawn so it looked particularly neat. At the time, I might have bristled at being directed about how to do work, but I’ve come to understand that my parents were taking time to be intentional with me. Noticing what I did. Engaging me. Spending slivers of time to impart wisdom about what a quality job looks like and how I can model that in what I do.
The thing is – and we all know this as parents: time is the one finite resource that we don’t have. And although we’re spending more time caring for our children (1) than the prior generation did, we are still navigating real challenges with how to find meaningful moments and feel as though we are spending quality time with our children.
In 2013, the Pew Charitable Trusts did a large-scale study of parents and how they spend their time. In that study, Pew found that parents were in fact spending more time with their children but that both mothers and fathers – and a majority of fathers – wished they could spend even more time caring for their children. The data speaks to the push and pull of modern parenthood and how Generation X and, soon, Millennials, are thinking about time with children.
We hope you dig into deep to find those slivers of time you’re looking for – time to throw a ball, color a picture, talk about the harvest, study the landmarks, or get ready for back to school.
About the Author
Bill Anderson is a father of 4 who shares his experiences about parenting and life with Guidepost Parent.
- The Pew Charitable Trusts defines child care as everything from direct child care through attending children’s sporting events, and everything in between. See page 52 of the report for more details about what constitutes work, child care, and leisure.
Recommended for you: