The simple reason that it takes quantity of quality time is because significant moments are unpredictable. Most of us want to be there when our baby takes the first step, or our daughter makes her first basketball goal, or our son wins an award, or our child asks an important question. But you just never know when significant moments are going to happen.
If you hope to be present for the significant moments, then you will have to be present for the seemingly insignificant moments.
It’s like when I try to catch a picture of lightning. It’s a tricky thing for photographer to shoot lightning. You can’t take the shot when you see the light. At that point it’s really too late. By the time you press the shutter release you have already missed it.
The best strategy is to set the camera to continuously shoot, so that it actually stands a better chance of opening the shutter before the lightning strikes. Sure you will get a lot of insignificant photos that way, but it’s probably the only chance you have of catching some incredible moments.
Kids and lightning have a lot in common. If you want to experience some extraordinary moments with your children, then you have to be there for a lot of ordinary moments. Looking back I am grateful that…
I limited my travel schedule away from home when my kids were young.
I rarely missed attending a school, athletic or church event with them.
I worked to keep my schedule flexible when they were teenagers.
I learned to do those things just in case something came up (and it almost always did).
I’ve never met an older mom or dad, who said, “Yeah if had it to do all over again, I’d spend less time with my kids, and more time doing other things.” They seem to always say just the opposite. “I wish I had spent more time with my kids …”
Just remember it’s easy to miss a lightning bolt. It happens fast – then it’s gone.
The best way to catch unpredictable moments with your children is to be predictable with how you spend time together.