Love is Spelled
T-I-M-E

by Ken Canfield

Dad, I don’t want to lay a guilt trip on you for not spending more time with your kids. But sometimes a guilt trip is what we all need.

Really, I’m only being honest about what I see:

When a dad claims to spend “quality time" with his kids – rather than quantity time – I wonder who he’s trying to fool. When your kids hear that phrase, the message is that they aren’t worth more than five or ten minutes of their father’s day.

I know what dads do; I’ve done it myself. We tell our children we wish we could spend more time with them. We wish we could sit down and play a board game or ping-pong. We wish we could take them to the park and push them on the swing. But right now, we can’t. Our schedules are just too tight.

“Well," we say to ourselves, “at least our motives are good, right?"

Wrong. We can’t escape it: spending time communicates our love better than words. “Love is spelled T-I-M-E."

And there are no secret methods. It’s just a matter of putting in the time. Once you’re together, good things will happen. Read a book. Play a game. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Chances are, your child will have plenty of ideas for what you can do together.

One thing you can do is to actually write your kids’ names in your schedule. If it works on the job, shouldn’t it work for your kids?

*Schedule time to help with your kids’ homework.

*Schedule a breakfast date with your teenage daughter.

*Schedule that parent-teacher conference next month.

*Sign up for some organized activity together – chess club, sports league, church groups, and so on. That way, you can use the structure of the activity to help you spend time with your child.

Dads, we don’t have to spend every spare moment with our kids. We need some time away – and especially some time alone with our wives. But let’s work on getting rid of the excuses and being more available to our children.

Dr. Ken Canfield is the founder of the National Center for Fathering (www.fathers.com).

 

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