Quality? Quantity? Both.

I distinctly remember a conversation I had years ago (over 10) with a “highly committed” fellow is his vocation. He was heading off to some profession-related activity-thing far far away, leaving his family behind – again. It wasn’t like he was serving God or vanquishing bad guys in a war. It was his passion and felt that strong desire. Wasn’t the first time. Wouldn’t be the last. I asked him point blank, how does your son take it you’re off so frequently. His answer is not unusual for our culture today, but it is profound in its implications:

I may not have quantity, but I have {nodding his head up and down, proud of himself} quality time with him.{

Quantity vs. Quality time.

Quality Defined

From Merriam-Webster dictionary online

  1. How good or bad something is
  2. a characteristic that someone or something has
  3. Something that can be noticed as a part of a person or thing
  4. A high level of value or excellence

I trust he was opting for #4, looking to justify. In cases like these we tend to forget #2/#3 are also relevant to a true evaluation of time, space, matter (whatever.)

Quantity Defined

From Merriam-Webster dictionary online

  1. An amount or number of something
  2. a large amount or number of something – emphasis mine.

What is this idea of “Quality” in a time equation, especially spent with someone? Is it that each minute is so action packed and fun that it can carry a person through a veritable time-desert in which their spirit and emotions are sufficiently nourished without suffering ill?

The other option (in my mind) almost feels like a suffocating wet blanket where you are so much around someone in those “quality” moments that person hardly has room to breathe.

Checking with Uncle Google, I found a few sites referencing “Quality vs. Quantity Time – not for agreement or disagreement, only to demonstrate the issue is a rather popular topic:

www.parentspartner.com pullquote:

The child who plays the app angry birds all day long, or who simply is engaged in activities, will have a different wired brain to the child who is hugged, listened to, shown delight, and provided with more warm interaction than is demanded. While children’s brain architect is basically similar, how the structures get wired (integrated together) is the result of the child’s experiences.

www.earlychildhoodnews.com pullquote:

Parents who work all day are tired when they get home and may put off playing with their children until the weekend. {Robert Strom (1978) -Early childhood educator} suggests that parents should try to play for at least two ten-minute periods a day with the children. This could involve such simple activities as doing household chores together, reading a story, or tossing a ball.

Dr. James Dobson fro Focus on the Family

I’m afraid the logic of that concept is flawed to me. The question is, why do we have to choose between the virtues of quantity versus quality?

An Awesome Parenting Message

So Tom Shrader, founding pastor of East Valley Bible Church, now known as “Redemption Church, Gilbert, AZ came to the Redemption Gateway campus Mesa,AZ (where I attend and serve) and spoke on parenting one weekend. He made a profound statement, and if I hadn’t been listening attentively it would’ve skipped by me.

{paraphrased}If you ask your kid which they would prefer, “Quality of time” or “Quantity of time” how do you think they’d answer?

“Both.” Kids want both

Here is a link to this message and I Strongly encourage you to have a listen. Amazingly practical stuff.

Here are some useful notes I took from this very message:

  • These kids really need you in their corner
    • Don’t blow smoke at them
    • But don’t rip them apart
    • It’s a tough world in third grade
  • You can’t teach these kids what you don’t know
    • Remember this: YOU’RE the boss
    • They don’t need a buddy
    • You’re their dad: my job is such you’re not gonna like me some of the time
  • Parenting is not one size fits all
    • Teach the kids what’s significant
    • Ecclesiastes – when all is said and done, fear God, keep his commandments

One Couple’s view

A talk a husband and wife gave to a group of young parents once upon a time comes to mind. The talk was on parenting – how HE and SHE parent. They want their kids to grow up well rounded and not conceited. They will purposely miss their kid’s baseball game, even if they have a free afternoon, so their kids know they aren’t the center of the universe.

Their motivation is right (I would hope,) but their application is awful. This totally violates the thought your kids need you in their corner, not to mention the parents looking up to these “authority figures” feeling a bit way-layed for trying to support their kids by going to games.


Tonight after dinner (late in the evening), I retreated to my den to start doing personal stuff I never get around-to-doing during the week. My little girl comes in, sits on my lap, and picks up my iPhone and starts talkin to Siri.

She asks Siri why Dada can’t stop working because she misses him. Awww.

That very second I dropped what I was doing and we went in to watch “Frozen” – AGAIN. “Let it go! Let it go!”

It was more “quantity” than it was “quality,” but just knowing I was around with her was all she needed. Love that little pumpkin.

Quantity? Quality? Both.

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