Esther who blogs at MATROZKEPZO (and holds the distinction of being the only foreign language blog, that I know of, to have Raising Olives in their blog roll) left this insightful comment on my last post in Your Child’s Heart series. I thought it was good enough to warrant it’s own post.
Many people, even Christian mothers think, that it is sufficient and enough to occasionally listen to their kids. At these times, they sit down with them, and ask questions about school and life, and they are expecting ‘talk-flood’ from their youngsters. But usually, that flood doesn’t happen- and no wonder why. Because nobody can force another person at a certain time to open his heart up for him for ten minutes or for half an hour- just to be neglected for days or weeks after that.
The key is availability.
Many loving parents don’t realize, that there’s no such think as quality time by itself! QUALITY COMES FROM QUANTITY. You need to spend many many many hours (and I mean it literally) watching and listening to your children. You don’t even need to ask questions. Just be with them, and let them feel your presence. And then, you need to listen to them.
I think, this is the hardest part. To sit still smiling, and look into their eyes while they are chatting, talking and talking to you about everything. Sometimes it is so hard for me not to close my ears and my heart at them – even when they are talking almost continuously all-day-long! But I know, there is no other way I can have their quality time. Because in this way, I build relationships between me and each of them uniquely. So that each of them get to know, that mom is a person that he can trust with his secrets and one who he can count on- probably one of few in the early years… I think this is very important.
This makes clear the point that I was trying to make. In order to keep our children’s hearts we must spend both quality and quantity time with our children. I think Esther put her finger on a key point, “Quality comes from quantity.” You can’t have one without the other.
In Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 we are to teach these things (God’s law) diligently to our children, but then it goes on to explain that we should do that as we walk through life with them. If we aren’t WITH our children, if we are allowing others to raise them, teach them, spend the majority of waking hours with them, it is difficult to obey this command. We can’t simply schedule some “quality time” with our children in order to teach them what they must know. We must build a relationship, a relationship that in some way mirrors the relationship that our children should have with God.
For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12)
Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:13)
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:7-9)
I’d love to hear how you incorporate both quality and quantity time with your children and how you foster and develop solid, loving relationships with your children.
Other posts in “Your Child’s Heart” series:
- Your Child’s Heart?
- How Can You Tell if You Have Your Child’s Heart?
- What’s Your Responsibility (Discipline)
- What’s Your Responsibility (Instruction)
- It Requires Time **You are here**
- Our Insufficiency
- The Pearl’s and Your Child’s Heart
- How do You Find the Time? Part 1
- How do You Find the Time? Part 2
- How do You Find the Time? Part 3