A shiny new red Ferrari, a mansion overlooking the beach, a sparkling diamond bracelet. These things are all beautiful, impressive, and expensive. But what is more expensive than all of these? Time. Because what time is spent is gone forever. Money and material items can be replaced, but time cannot.
One thing in life that is certain is death (and taxes). I guess we’re all just waiting around until we die, as morbid as that sounds.
Let me ask you a few questions… How are you spending your time? Are you investing in your children by giving them quality time? Or are you compensating by buying them another iPad or useless toy?
I have always considered myself career minded, and I have genuinely loved my work. So, when I had a child I wasn’t sure how I would mentally cope with being a stay at home mother. In fact, I thought I would loathe it. But when the time actually came, I surprised myself. I was able to look beyond the short-term inconvenience of having a career break and focus on the bigger picture.
One thing struck me, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my daughter because it’s no secret how quick children grow up. But not only for that reason… I want to be someone she can trust and feel comfortable coming to with her problems when she grows up.
Someone once said to me “rules without a relationship leads to rebellion”. The more I think about it, the more I agree that it couldn’t be truer.
I knew friends in school who came from strict families from all cultures and religions. And one thing I noticed was that many of these friends didn’t have close relationships with their parents. In fact, their relationship was based on fear and rigid rules. I witnessed these friends casually make up multiple lies to their parents… to cover up their secrets like smoking, wagging school and having secret boyfriends.
You’re probably thinking that this is a rite of passage, what teenager hasn’t? Well… me. I did none of this. Maybe I was a nerd, or maybe I just didn’t feel the need to rebel. My mother was pretty easy to talk to, and I didn’t feel like I needed to lie about anything. Because our relationship wasn’t based on fear, it was based on communication and trust.
You know, a family friend of ours who is a very successful self-made millionaire confessed to us in recent years about his relationship with his daughter. He said that if it’s one thing he regrets in life is not spending enough quality time with his daughter when she was little.
He was always working, travelling overseas on business trips, and wasn’t home for dinner. She is now in her mid 20’s and if she has a problem, she doesn’t feel comfortable speaking to her father. She goes straight to her mother. He is convinced if he had spent more time with her growing up their relationship as adults would be stronger. “Don’t make the same mistake”, he said to my husband after we welcomed our daughter into this world.
Of course, we want to give our children the best of everything, because they deserve it. A good education, clothes, experiences and everything else they need. This all requires money, I am not saying this is not important. It is. I’m just wanting to remind everyone, that no matter how busy we are, with work and other commitments, sometimes we need to check ourselves.
We need to ask ourselves if we are compensating for our shortcomings by buying our kid's too many gifts. The happiness from receiving a new toy only lasts so long, but the memories created by spending quality time lasts a lifetime.