I teach a fishing class in Southwest Florida. Everyone who takes the class is retired from the northern United States. Many of them have never fished before. A few have fished in freshwater lakes but not in saltwater. I asked one man, “how come you never fished before?” He said, “I never had the time, I was too busy working.” I thought to myself, what a shame. He spent his whole life working so hard he didn’t take the time to enjoy a hobby like fishing.
I wondered how his family life was all those years. Did he take the time to do things with his wife and kids? I have read stories about men working 12- 14 hours a day, sometimes six-seven days a week. They claim that they are doing this to give their family everything they want.
They don’t realize the one thing they want the most is his time. Having quality time with their parents is one of the love languages for kids, it’s also one of the love languages for adults. Many times, a dad doesn’t realize the importance of quality time with his kids until it’s too late. The kids don’t verbalize their need for quality time with their dad until their adults. Some kids say to their dad, “I wish you spent more time with me when I was growing up.” They don’t usually say, I wished you spent more money on me.
Some men think that buying everything their kids want and need is the definition of taking care of their family. Yes, you do need to meet the physical needs of your family. But, there must be some balance in your life, you can’t neglect spending quality time with your wife and kids just to make money.
A good friend of mine, Gene, is a good example of making time with his children. He is a route salesman for a snack company. When his kids were growing up, he would rearrange his work schedule, so he was home in time to attend his kids after school activities. Some of the things he did was: help out with the high school band during the football season, coach his son’s basketball team. When he was home, he made time for his kids. I would witness this when I came over to visit.
Gene has a close relationship with his adult children today. He made sure their financial needs were met without compromising his most viable asset he could offer them, his time. If you have been missing out on too many of your kids activities, take the time to reevaluate your priorities.
Many entrepreneurs will tell you that the # 1 reason they like to be self-employed is because of the freedom of time, it’s not about making more money. Of course, the opportunity to make more money as an entrepreneur is a factor, but for most people, it’s the flexibility of time that is the most important.
Men, let’s reconsider our priorities. Since quality time is one of the ways that we show people that we love them, then we should do all we can to make that happen. Dads spend some quality time with your kids today.
Photo: Flickr/ Kim Keegan