Quality Time is a Myth
I’ve heard it said (and probably even said) that quality time is more important than quantity of time. But I’ve come to believe that’s a pretty stupid way to look at life.
Last weekend we went to the Parade of Lights as a family. We went to a special place for breakfast, walked through the art museum, took the kids ice skating, jumped on the beds, went swimming, and watched the lights. The most meaningful moment of the whole day was holding my daughter up so she could see the parade, watching the joy on her face, and feeling her rubbing my back. I will cherish it forever. I couldn’t have planned it. That quality time came from the commitment to quantity time.
You can’t plan the truly meaningful moments–you can only be fully present with people and trust God to bless you with them. Sometimes we think we can replace quantity of time with quality time. The problem with that is that quality time seldom happens because we will it. It happens because we commit to quantity of time and then remain open to the truly special moments that happen.
Planning quality time is like planning a lightning strike. If you’re in a thunderstorm you know the lightning will strike somewhere, but you don’t know where or when, you have to wait for it. In the same way, when we are intentional about spending time with people great moments of quality time will happen, but we don’t know when, we just have to wait for them.
There are things we can do to assure that quality time won’t happen–like zoning out on our phones or watching TV and ignoring the people around us. But I think another way to virtually guarantee quality time won’t happen is to try and force it. This will likely lead to frustration and bitterness when the magic doesn’t happen. If we want quality time with our family, friends, and neighbors we have to commit to quantity of time.