Spending Quality Time With Our ChildrenIn a column written by Christopher Toh in the paper today, his colleague, who is also a father, said, “…time is a luxury that we don’t have because we’re too busy trying to make sure our children have the luxuries we never had.” Instead of saying that we don’t have the time for our children, it would be more accurate to say that we do not make time to be with them because of our busy schedule. However, I believe that most would want to make time for their children.

Most parents nowadays are facing this similar challenge and are guilty of not spending enough quality time with their children. In a highly competitive society like Singapore, a lot of time both parents are working and their children are either left to the care of grandparents (who are the more fortunate one like my siblings and I) or domestic helpers.

Although it is important for parents to be working hard to provide for the family, it is equally important for parents to spend quality time with their children and to be there for them.

Reading the column reminds me of a catch-up I had with a friend last year. While giving him a ride home, I sensed his weariness and asked him about it. He shared about his new appointment at work; he was given a role to manage projects and some junior staffs. With the new appointment and responsibility, he not only had to work late almost everyday to fulfill endless deadlines but also had to spend time to guide the junior staffs. Even at home, he often had to reply to time critical email; ignoring the email could hold up the whole production.

As a result of his new appointment, he was always tired and did not have the energy to spend time with his new born girl. He told me the feeling sucked. It was clear that his top priority is his family but his work was keeping him from doing what is important to him. It was no wonder his positive energy was all drained and he appeared so tired, not only physically but also mentally. Good thing he realised what is his priority and making change.

I believe that most people realised the important to attain work-life balance but most are being thrown into the same situation as my friend. As what the columnist wrote, “The hard part of course, is putting realisation into practice.” A message from a fridge magnet given to the columnist, which I found very true, “This is how kids spell ‘love’ – ‘T.I.M.E’.” Children will not understand “…we’re too busy trying to make sure they have the luxuries we never had.” To them, ‘love’ is having us spend quality time with them and always being there for them.

We were only children once and so will our children be children once. When they grow up, the opportunity to read them books, bringing them out to the parks, taking them to the playground or, as apparently as in the case with the columnist’s son, just lying there next to him as he sleeps will be lost forever. We won’t get a second chance.

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18 Comments so far »

  1. by jacqueline, on May 31 2010 @ 10:05 pm

     

    Spending quality time with your little ones are really precious! I notice that parents these days even here in malaysia {example my sister} spend too much time worrying about their little one’s education ~ so much so that most of the little one’s time is spend at extracurricular activities such as music class and reading class. This is such a wonderful remider to all of us! Wishing you a lovely merry happy week and love to you!!
    .-= jacqueline´s last blog ..Keep it simple =-.

  2. by Hilary, on June 1 2010 @ 2:13 am

     

    Hi BK .. we all have the same time – and we need to realise that simplicity ..which gives us more time as life is easier .. so time will be available for all we need. It’s similar to repairing our car and keeping that healthy, when we ignore our body ..

    I like the way time is expressed here .. it’s a resource and we can have as much or as little as we want.

    I’m glad to see that chap is changing his circumstances ..

    Excellent post .. thanks Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Stirling Castle Skeletons – who are they? =-.

  3. by Symphony of Love, on June 1 2010 @ 5:48 am

     

    @ Jacqueline, it is getting very competitive even for children here in Singapore; there are endless enrichment programs for children: Phonic classes, piano classes, languages, drawing, swimming etc. If you can think of it, you can be sure there will be classes available. During my time, I was enjoying my childhood playing at the playground, running or cycling around the neighbourhood etc. Even my niece and nephews are going through different enrichment programs. This is to prepare them for primary school. Sometimes I feel sad for them.

    @ Hilary, wonderful point; everyone of us do have the same time. And yet some are finding it hard to find time for their children while others are managing their time well or simply making an effort to spend time with their children.

  4. by VanillaSeven, on June 1 2010 @ 12:08 pm

     

    Parents easily forget that they have all it takes to make their children happy. Time. Very insightful BK.
    .-= VanillaSeven´s last blog ..Boat Number 13 =-.

  5. by Ben, on June 1 2010 @ 8:26 pm

     

    I would really hate that feeling of knowing that my kids were growing up and that I wasn’t there enough to notice it. Great article! Managing time well is definitely a skill that few have perfected.

  6. by Symphony of Love, on June 1 2010 @ 10:24 pm

     

    @ VanillaSeven, indeed some parents think that they can make up for the lost time with their children by providing them with all the luxuries; the luxury they would ever hope for is quality time with their parents.

    @ Ben, true that time management is a challenging skill which some never really learnt but there are also cases where some parents are tied to their time-critical work that they just couldn’t afford to put down their work to make time for their children. Sometimes I feel sad for these parents. Either they have to make changes to work that is less demanding on their time or they just have to slog on.

  7. by Dora, on June 2 2010 @ 7:39 am

     

    We should spend quality time with our parents too!
    .-= Dora´s last blog ..Crystal Jade Savoury Glutinous Pancake =-.

  8. by Symphony of Love, on June 2 2010 @ 8:58 am

     

    @ Dora, I certainly agree with you that it is as important to spend time with our parents, because when they are gone, it will be forever.

  9. by Ben, on June 2 2010 @ 11:53 am

     

    Yeah, you’re right. It’s sad when parents get caught in a no win situation like that. Really sad.

  10. by Symphony of Love, on June 2 2010 @ 10:33 pm

     

    @ Ben, indeed.

  11. by Wheng, on June 2 2010 @ 11:38 pm

     

    A very inspiring article again. It is very important that parent spend quality time with their children. But now a days since both parent work, it is very difficult to manage the time for children and work. It is true that parent priority is their children, but they spend less time with them. As a working mom, I make sure I spend quality time with my son, and attend to his needs because I know I cannot get back the time if I will let it pass away.

  12. by meleah rebeccah, on June 3 2010 @ 1:14 am

     

    Back when I was working 70 hour weeks in the insurance industry I used to get so upset about missing The Time with my son. The guilt alone sucked the life right out of me.

    Nevertheless I always made special days for just the twp of us. I’d play hookey from work and let him stay home from school so that we could have “Mommy and Me” days.

    Now that I am unemployed, my favorite thing is getting to spend MORE quality time with my family.

    In fact, just today, my son and I had one of “our” days together – it was just what we both needed after the last few weeks of stress around here.
    .-= meleah rebeccah´s last blog ..Doing Things Differently – My Week In Review – [Part Seventeen] =-.

  13. by Symphony of Love, on June 3 2010 @ 5:48 am

     

    @ Wheng, you couldn’t be more right, it can be a challenge to manage the time for children and work at time especially when both parents are working. Both my parents were working when my siblings and I were young. Fortunately, we have our grandparents looking after us and spending time with us. It might not have made up for the time with our parents at least we were with our families. And I certainly agree that you cannot get back the time if you let it pass away.

    @ Meleah, I understood what you meant, my friend went through the similar situation as you. Glad that you had made time for your son or you would never have gotten back the time lost. I sure hope that all will get better for you over there.

  14. by fatima da, on June 3 2010 @ 3:36 pm

     

    It’s a shame some parents have to work so hard to give their children the luxury they want and perhaps spend less time with the kids… but I remember what my mother always says to me … she says we all have 24 hrs in a day and it’s our choice what we do with it.. I suppose finding a balance can sometimes be hard…
    .-= fatima da´s last blog ..Brainstorming Techniques and Tips =-.

  15. by Mark, on June 3 2010 @ 3:50 pm

     

    We are the sum of our choices. We can choose to make time for our children. In the end it is the “time” you give them which they will remember, not the house or the gifts or any other material thing.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Placebos – The Self Deception That Believes the Lie =-.

  16. by Symphony of Love, on June 3 2010 @ 10:26 pm

     

    @ Fatima, your mother couldn’t be more right; we all have 24 hours in a day and it is our choice what we do with it. Parents do have to find a balance between their work and life.

    @ Mark, I couldn’t have said it better than you; we are the sum of our choices and the time we give to our children are the one they will remember; just like how I remember my grandfather and my father.

  17. by One of The Guys, on June 4 2010 @ 7:18 am

     

    I love this BK! You are so right when you say, “we won’t get a second chance.”

    It’s difficult to balance it all, but it’s about making hard decisions.

    My wife and I decided to share the domestic duties when our kids were born, so we both work part time and also see the kids a lot. It’s tough sometimes to make it work financially, but it’s definitely worth it.

  18. by Symphony of Love, on June 7 2010 @ 1:02 pm

     

    @ One of the Guys, it can be very hard to make decision indeed. I’m glad that you and your wife worked that out well and got to spend precious time with your kids. They will always remember this gift that both of you gave to them.

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