This is the fourth part of a five part blog discussing the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity.
If you haven’t had a chance to go back and read the prior posts, I encourage you to go back and read them.
This week I am going to spend some time talking about value #4. Value #4 is Create a Rhythm. The rhythm we create can be accidental or it can be purposeful. What is a rhythm though? It is how we spend our day, the way we arrange our time (p. 120).
I've heard people say that what a person, or family, values most can be seen by how they spend their money, and how they spend their time. If someone opened your calendar, or task list, what would they find as most important to you? Creating a rhythm is about creating priorities (p. 133). Creating priorities is much easier to do when children are younger. They aren't involved in as much when they are infants and toddlers. Setting priorities when children get older requires much more effort. Homework, sports, even jobs come in the way as our children get older. I now see how much my time changed when I turned 16 and started working. How about you, didn't your time change as you grew older?
If I were to ask your child what their time at home consisted of, what would they say? After all how we spend our time says a lot about what we value. I value time that I get to read with my son. So nearly every night I get to read to him. When I don’t read, my wife or mother does. I also enjoy playing outside with him. Play outside normally consists of me pushing him on a swing for what seems like an eternity.
Another rhythm we have created is time that my son gets to spend with his grandmother. This time is great for him and her; however this time has also been beneficial to my wife and me. We've had date nights, meetings with our mentors, and other things that we wouldn't be able to do with our young son at our side.
As the authors of the book wrote on page 123, “What happens every day in your home defines what normal becomes for your family.” Normal for our family is reading to our son, him spending time with his grandmother, going to church service on Sunday, and serving in our respective ministries.
The book has several sections that talk about the importance of the rhythm. The one I want to focus on is found on page 135. Quantity or quality time emphasizes that it is neither quality nor quantity of time a family spends together that really matters. It is the quantity of quality time that’s important. If the time I spend with my son isn't meaningful, then it has been a waste of time in the long run. Time together has to be meaningful.
Your family will have to determine what its definition of meaningful will be. If you child doesn't like to watch TV, then spending a Saturday morning watching cartoons isn't that meaningful.
Pick up a copy of the book to read the other sections in this chapter. All of them are full of gold and diamonds that parents should seek to implement.
What about you? How can you create a rhythm? How are you creating a rhythm? Share your insights below. We are better together.