There’s a reason I know quality time trumps quantity time.
When I was a kid, my grandfather would come to our house for dinner all the time. He used to say coming to our house was better than going to the movies.
I have three siblings, all sisters, so I was the only boy—and the youngest. I’m sure he found the level of mischief that ensued as a result of those dynamics quite entertaining.
My grandfather, “Paw” as we called him, was an amazing man that knew a thing or two about children. After all, he had fourteen of his own. No, that isn’t a typo. He had twelve girls and two boys…and countless grandchildren.
And although he came to our house, apparently to see a show, I was the one who was mesmerized by him.
Kind, caring, and fun are just a few of the adjectives that describe my grandfather. I loved when he came over.
And more than anything, his visits taught me the importance of quality time.
Now, we all know that quantity time, the amount of time you spend together, is important. I love when my daughter is reading, and she asks me to sit on the couch next to her. Even though we aren’t interacting, it means something to her.
The quantity of time we spend with our kids provides comfort and communicates importance. You’re probably familiar with the expression that your calendar reflects what’s important to you.
But we often rely on quantity time as a substitute for quality time. It’s not quite the same, though. Sitting in the same room with my kids while we are each on our electronic devices may mean we are spending time together, but it’s not intentional, undistracted time. And it won’t build memories in the same way.
I was just twelve years old when my grandfather passed away. It’s been over twenty-five years, but I still remember him coming over for dinner and tickling my feet until I couldn’t breathe.
I still remember spending the night at his house, watching “Tom and Jerry,” his favorite cartoon.
I still remember going fishing with him, and I still remember the cabinet in his house that always had gum.
In the span of my life, I didn’t have much quantity time at all with Paw. But I had a whole lot of quality time that produced some pretty amazing memories.
Think about your favorite memories with the special people in your life and you’ll realize, too, that it was the quantity of quality time you spent together that made the difference.
So this week, more than once, turn off the TV, put down the phone and spend some quality time with your children.
Tickle their feet until they can’t breathe.
Make up a dance in the middle of the kitchen.
Play tag outside.
You’ll be glad you did.
And there will be a lifetime of memories to show for it.