Undivided attention. Focus. Full-blown togetherness. Essential elements of building a great relationship with kids—and grandkids.
When I think about things that my own parents did that I have valued throughout my life, I think of “time”. It’s not about the amount of time being spent, it’s about the quality of time invested.
When my own two kids were home, both John and I wanted to give them undivided attention when we could. This didn’t mean that we didn’t have jobs, meals to cook, a house to clean, laundry to do, etc. But, we sat down to meals together, played baseball in the yard, basketball in the driveway, participated in the school activities and were there for their athletic events, musical events, school and church activities, etc.
The kids were very active in their school and community—and we were there. Sure, this took time and commitment, but we wanted to be there. We loved being a part of their lives—at home and away from home. We scheduled their things on our calendar first and scheduled our activities around them. Sure, we missed some of the events—but not many. And now that they are grown and have families of their own, we can look back without regretting that we missed important parts of their “growing up.” As adult children, we consider them beloved friends, as well as children. The relationship was nurtured from the beginning. Therefore, it remained strong during the growing up years—and that closeness has extended into the adult years. If the foundation is not there from childhood, it’s difficult to build a stable relationship during adulthood. Put your kids lives as a priority and “be there.” You’ll have plenty of time for your own activities.
I never want to look back on my life with regret wishing that I had done something I didn’t. I want to look back and be able to say, “I’m so glad I did that with them.” One of the things I am glad that I did was spend quality time with my kids. And now, John and I are doing the same thing with our grandkids. While I am on the road most every week with work, I schedule things for the grandkids on my calendar and schedule my work life around those precious times. No regrets.