A friend just emailed to ask if we made a mistake in the first bullet of our Give Every Day pledge:
To spend intimate, quantity time with our family.
He asked, "Did you mean to say quality?"
It was a good question, so I thought I would elaborate in a post.
The answer is that we actually did intend to say "quantity."
We want to spend abundant time with each other (and, of course, we want it to be awesome too). The idea here is that "quality" in limited proportions does not suffice. It is certainly possible for quality to be absent from large amounts of time together, but the healthiest relationships (in a family or otherwise) are those where the members spend ample quality time together.
It rails against the norm to put the emphasis on "quantity." Our culture often fixates on careers, saving for retirement, and keeping up with the Joneses...in lieu of spending time with children. Perhaps fathers are the most guilty of all in this regard. It isn't that pursuing money, status, or influence is wrong. In fact, the opposite may be true. But our family's prayer is that we take care in where we set our priorities.
Most of us would agree Rev. Bill Graham has certainly lived a respectable and intentional life. In an interview about his life he talked about his "regrets."
Although I have much to be grateful for as I look back over my life, I also have many regrets. I have failed many times, and I would do many things differently. For one thing, I would speak less and study more, and I would spend more time with my family.
When I look back over the schedule I kept thirty or forty years ago, I am staggered by all the things we did and the engagements we kept. Were all those engagements necessary? Was I as discerning as I might have been about which ones to take and which to turn down? I doubt it. Every day I was absent from my family is gone forever.
Our goal is to pursue our dreams; our careers, our education, and our hobbies...but only secondarily to what we know is more important and rewarding - our family.
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