Time with Your Kids
There's a phrase that's become popular over the
past few years that fills me with wonder. That
phrase is "quality time." We've all heard it, and
we all seem to accept it as a real concept. But to
the average country person, that phrase is
difficult to comprehend.
Here's what I mean. Last summer, my 10-year-old
son Cody and I spent an entire day walking the
fields, checking fences. When we saw a post that
needed straightening or a strand of wire that
needed to be tightened, we set right to work. Sweat
poured across our faces, our shirts grew soaked
from the hard work we were engaged in. But as we
strained against the task at hand, we talked about
his little league baseball team and how he could
improve his hitting to the opposite field. Then, as
we walked a little farther down the fence line, we
laughed till we cried when a covey of quail nearly
gave us a heart attack as they exploded out of the
grass in front of us. We heard the amazingly varied
call of a cardinal in the woods off to our right.
We saw two red-tailed hawks circling lazily over
our heads, and marveled at how they could see field
mice at such a height.
It was a typical day for us, father and son. We
weren't doing anything "special." We were working.
And yet, I know from similar experiences with my
own dad when I was Cody's age that days like these
would be the ones that came to mind once he'd grown
up and had children of his own.
So I ask again: was that "quality time?"
Think back to your own childhood. What things do
you remember most about your parents? Was it the
fact that your dad worked 16 hours a day at the
office, and fell asleep on the couch on the
weekends because he was too exhausted to move? No,
I'm willing to wager that's not what you remember.
More likely, you remember the time you went for a
long walk along the country road in the rain and
came home looking like not only something the cat
had dragged in, but something he'd dragged in and
forgotten under the refrigerator for a month.
It's been said that kids spell "love" ...
t-i-m-e, and I couldn't agree more.
So the next time you hear yourself thinking that
you'll make it up to your daughter when she asks
you to play "Chutes and Ladders" for the seven
millionth time, remember: your kids are watching
you, and it doesn't matter how young they are; they
know how to spell the word "quality," too.
Strangely enough, to our kids, the word
"quality" is spelled exactly the same as the word
They're both spelled T-I-M-E.
© 2010 Gary
Anderson is a freelance writer, editor,
ghostwriter, and manuscript analyst, living on a
small Iowa farm. He's published more than 500
articles and four books. He's also ghosted a dozen
books, edited more than 30 full-length manuscripts,
produced seven newsletters, and has done more than
800 manuscript reviews for various publishers
around the nation. If you need writing or editing
help, visit Gary's website at www.abciowa.com
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