I recently asked my children if they thought I loved them.
Then I asked if they thought I liked them.
“Why do you think that I LIKE you?” I probed.
The answer was swift and unanimous: “Because you spend TIME with us!”
Children spell love T-I-M-E.
Children spell like T-I M-E.
You can love someone without liking them. I know many parents who love their children very much, but it is obvious that they don’t really LIKE them.
You can also like someone, such as an acquaintance, or a speaker you listen to, without truly loving them.
Is loving your children enough to have their hearts?
I think you have to truly LIKE your children to have their hearts and keep them.
If children spell love T-I-M-E, they will only know that you truly love them if you LIKE being with them, if you LIKE doing things with them, if you LIKE what they like, if you LIKE them. In the big picture, children do not count much what you do FOR them; it is only what you do WITH them that matters in their eyes.
Here are some ways I spend time WITH my children, enjoying them every minute. There are many other ideas that you will have, but this will get you started.
Work ~ It is fun to work together, side by side. When it is time to fix a meal, for instance, my children are almost always with me, working together, in the kitchen. We will often work in the yard and garden together, or do laundry together.
Eating ~ We eat 3 meals a day together and often have a snack together. It is very rare that we ever eat separately. This is a wonderful time of fellowship as well.
Music ~ Instead of sending my children to piano lessons, I teach them myself. Singing, dancing (to the Lord), and playing instruments together seem to form a bond unlike any other. I also LIKE the music my children enjoy. I listen to them sing and play, with undivided and rapt attention.
Reading ~ Reading aloud is so much fun! Reading a great book is always an incredible experience, but reading that same book at the same time, out loud, with your children, multiplies that experience exponentially, building precious memories together.
School ~ Although I began homeschooling my children for a very different set of reasons, I continue homeschooling my children now so that I can be with them. Call me selfish, if you will, but my number one reason for homeschooling my children is to be WITH them, working side by side, learning together.
Errands ~ When I go someplace in my truck, I almost always take someone with me. This is free time just looking for a relationship.
Exercise ~ We often exercise together. There are times when I just can’t, because I’m not up to it physically, maybe, but as often as possible, exercise time is together time.
Games ~ Solitaire is not a game that is played in our family, nor are video or computer games, which teach self-centeredness. Games are great learning experiences that come with a relationship. You know those special little made up games that little ones like to play, over and over and over again? Enjoy them every single time!
Jokes ~ We get an e-mail joke every day and we laugh together as we hear it all together. It’s an easy way to take our daily medicine together.
Talking ~ I have one child who LOVES to talk, for hours and hours and hours. Listening is included. If I don’t have those long conversations with her, she will find someone else who will!
Quiet ~ I have one child who enjoys just sitting with me quietly, no talking. That’s important, too.
Movies ~ Watching a movie can be a great tool, if you make it such. We ALWAYS watch movies together, to learn together, to talk about them together, to be together. Movies are NOT a babysitter.
Bedtime ~ Special bedtime routines are important to each of my children. It takes a LONG time to tuck in all 3. I don’t know what I’d do if had more!
Sermons ~ If there is a sermon I would like to hear that might impact the family (OK, there are TONS of these for us!), we all listen to it together, and then we discuss together if it lines up with God’s Word. If it does, we discuss together what changes we ought to make. This helps set a foundation in our family that God’s Word tells us how to live our lives, not a set of do’s and don’ts.
Projects ~ Sewing, crafts, models, building, organizing, moving – all kinds of projects lend themselves easily to togetherness. Look for these and you’ll find one around every corner.
I don’t spend ALL my time with my children, but I do spend as much time with them as I possibly can, while I have them with me. No one ever died regretting spending TOO MUCH time with their children!
I know some people think it takes too long to do these things WITH your children. Wouldn’t it be easier to just do them FOR your children? Or don’t you get more done if you all spread out and just do what needs to be done? Maybe. But there is nothing in this life more important than relationship – with God first, with family second. God did not call us to put time management ABOVE our relationship with our children. God did not call us to put our own interests ABOVE our relationship with our children.
The next time you find yourself doing something alone, ask yourself if you could involve someone with you. Making a bed is much easier with two than just one!
God called us to LOVE our children = TIME.
God wants us to LIKE our children =- TIME.
Where their TIME is, there will their heart be also.