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Quality Time

A few years ago there was a statistic which claimed that the average American dad spent five minutes a day with his children. If that’s true, I sure hope those are five really good minutes!

I’m sure we can debate the validity of the statistic, but it does raise a question: How much time are you spending with your children and grandchildren? Perhaps the better question is: How are you spending that time? We certainly do lots of good things with the children in our life. We cheer for them as they run the bases in a little league game. We take them to the lake, to the movies and to the county fair. We read to them, laugh with them and wrap them up in great big hugs. Those are the good times.

What about the other times? Much of the time we spend with them is filled with impatience and frustration. We use harsh words and unloving actions. We fail to discipline and instruct with love and patience and compassion. Sometimes we are too busy for them. Sometimes we are too preoccupied to answer their many questions.

If we are honest with ourselves, too often even our “quality” time with our children is missing something. God reminds us of what we too often leave out of our time with the children who are important to us: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds…Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19). Do the children in your life get to hear from you about the love their Savior has for them? Do they get to hear on a regular basis about the God who has created them and saved them and given them so many wonderful promises? If we don’t take the time to teach them, who will?

Thankfully we have a Father who gave us more than five minutes. Actually, our heavenly Father gave us much more than that: he gave us an eternity in heaven through faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. We will be with our Father in heaven forever. That same Father is with us every minute of every day in his Word. Get together with the children in your life and spend some quality time with God’s Word.

I need a break!

Once the kids are born the time demands never seem to end. It starts with the 3 am feeding. Next we have teething and earaches. We run the daily rat race from home to daycare to work to daycare to home to bed. And that’s a slow day without tee-ball, soccer or dance class! My life revolves around my children. I don’t have any time to myself.

Do you feel this way? Have your family concerns and obligations sapped your strength? Take heart, you are not alone!

One of the toughest lessons for me to learn as a parent was that taking quiet time for myself does not mean that I don’t love my children. As a matter of fact, taking time to be alone can be one of the best things I can do for my family. I learned this truth from Jesus.

Many times in the Bible, like in Matthew 14:13, we see that Jesus took time for himself. This verse says “Jesus withdrew privately to a solitary place.” Jesus is the perfect Son of God who gave his life on the cross for mine, yet he took time on this earth be alone and pray to his Father in heaven. We don’t need to feel guilty when we do the same.

I understand now that I need to take time alone. I am a parent, yet I am God’s child. I need time to be held by him. I need time to hear how much he loves me. I need time to talk to him. I need time to listen to him. Spending time alone with my Father in heaven gives me strength. He is my perfect parent and a model for me to follow. Spend time alone with him you will find the same.