Today is the Epiphany – the Twelfth Day of Christmas. I always remember it as the day the 3 Magi finished their journey Bethlehem and presented gifts or gold, myrrh, and frankincense to the infant Jesus (not that my traditional of cultural memory is necessarily any good).

What sort of gifts are truly valuable gifts? For me it is time. Not quality time, but time given freely without bounds and constraints.

Anyone can mail out a Christmas card, or birthday card, or a thinking of you card. Typically we call this sort of action thoughful. But there is more to being thoughtful, there is the time required to pen a few personal sentences.

As our lives get busier, there is a tendency to believe in the myth of quality time. Granted, the way time is spent should always be of the utmost quality, but, still quantity is an important aspect. While I may only interact with my kids for a limited period of time (quality time, so to speak), I try to be around and available, because that is what they want. They want to know I am there and about. They want to know that I any moment I am available for them to give them my time.

If you tally the time spent in a day, maybe it amounts to 2 hours or less of quality time, but it is spread over the whole day: 2 minutes to praise them for a picture they have made, 7 minutes wrestling, etc … It is not possible to squeeze that time into a convenient 2 hour block, say from 16:00 – 18:00. It requires me to be there and share my time with them when they need it. And for them to share their time with me when I need it.

Image was grabbed from here.


Anonymous said…
yes, today is Epiphany sunday and read your post yday, therefore refreshes my mind and 'wow' i did a great job in explaining to my girl what 'Epiphany' was about (during this morning's mass)! haha, thanks to u!
quality time or quantity time - to me, time is priceless! time should be 'well spent'. Many times, i regret that my times' not being made available for my loved ones (especially my dad, who'd gone).
Richard said…
Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, time is valuable, I always hope to never be in a position where I say "I wish I had spent more time."

Unfortunately it is not always possible. Most often I bemoan time I "wasted" procrastinating instead of acting. So far, I think I have managed to balance my family time pretty well.

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