In the past there has been some controversy over quality time verses quantity time and what kids need. I have heard it said that the quantity of time we spend with our kids is less significant than the quality of time we spend with our kids. I have also heard it said that in order to get to the quality time we need to invest in a quantity of time.
Regardless, TIME with our kids is critical to their sense of self and value. Our kids need to not just hear that we love them they need to feel that we love them by the way we choose to spend our time.
In the summer of 2006 our family set out on a road trip that would end up lasting 25 days. I think my favorite day was day one, when we pulled onto I-5 with no real return date slated. The feeling of heading out on an adventure that was not even bound by time was one of the best I have ever felt. We were packed to the hilt….pulling a tent trailer with 2 adults, 2 boys, 4 kayaks, 2 sets of golf clubs, 4 bikes, and all the necessary fishing gear.
On our little adventure we were not slaves to TV, cell phones, mail, or the internet. We simply had each other and hours and hours of time for conversation and quiet as the car rolled down the highway. We were in Montana on the Yellowstone River when Alex, then 16 came to the stark realization that he was not going to see his friends for a very long time, in fact we could not even give him a firm date=)). It was really something to observe as parents; he sort of had a 16 year old temper tantrum, to which Todd and I looked at each other and tried our hardest to hold back the laughter. After that day, Alex settled in. It’s funny how when you realize that something you are used to is simply not an option any more, you adapt. It was like the day I told Alex the garbage man picked up his binkis and that he had been proud of how Alex no longer needed them. Alex looked at me, laid down and went to sleep!
We traveled 5000 miles, had countless critical conversations, learned to watch movies on a laptop while snuggled into our tent trailer bunks, ate amazing food, laughed at the silliest things, grew in affection for each other and found that plenty of quantity time leads to some really rare quality moments.
Today, Alex would tell you that our road trip is one of his fondest memories. We still tease Todd about his driving in Yellowstone National Park, when he had a very hard time staying between the yellow lines while viewing the wildlife. In fact, Mitchell’s nick-name for his brother was birthed on this trip….”Al”, still considered a fond term of endearment. In the wake of this 25 day vacation memories are relived and the bond grows deeper still.
I don’t know what you have planned for summer but I do hope you will find some quantity time to spend together as a family. Perhaps you too will make some memories that linger at the dinner table for years to come.
Answers to the Summer Vacation word scrabble in our Sunday bulletin: summer, vacation, sand, pails, castle, beach, travel, maps, family, suitcase, backpack, van, swimming, hiking, sunshine, picnic.
Hope you had fun with this!!