Time may be the most important factor in parenting. Certainly, as parents, we’ve all felt the twinge of guilt as we’ve tried to make time decisions regarding our kids. We’ve all heard the saying that “love is spelled T-I-M-E.” Who’s not busy these days? Though I’m involved in ministry, I encounter the choice all the time- the choice of completing the project or completing the person. The choice between the date or the deadline. Do I open up the briefcase at home or do I play catch with my son? Certainly playing catch won't win me favor with God and man, but loving my son will. Loving requires time- both quality and quantity.
I once read that the average man in the United States spends his time:
-sleeping 8 hours a day for 75 years
-at a job 8 hours a day plus some overtime for 40 years
-eating 1 ½ hours daily
-working on the home and yard 2 hours weekly
-dressing and undressing 1 hour daily
Converted into years, that means the average man spends 25 years sleeping, 12 years working, 6 ½ years eating, 1 year doing lawn work and 3 years grooming. Now, how much time does the average man spend with his kids? One study showed that the average man spends 18 minutes a week talking with their kid. Multiply that by 18 years and the total time a father spends communicating with his child while he or she is growing up is just 11 days and 16 hours. Crazy.
Time is a question of priority. Teenagers today need to sense they are a priority by the way we are willing to invest into them as parents. They need our quality and quantity of time. Do they expect you to follow them everywhere? No. Teens have an amazing ability to discern motive. They understand that you have to work late sometimes. But they need to know that you’d rather be with them.
Make the quantity and quality of time with your teenager a priority. An article from years ago in USA Today quoted Settle Mariners star Pete O’Brien in his retirement announcement, “I’ve got four kids, a beautiful wife, and quite frankly, how much money do you need? Is that extra money going to take the place of an hour with my kids or a weekend with my kids? I love my family and I love the Lord. It’s time to move on.”
It’s time for many of us to “move on,” not geographically, but in our hearts. Make the tough decision to put your teen first. Don't expect them to acknowledge it, but they will know that you love them because of your T-I-M-E. ©
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