Lots and lots of people, if asked, “is family important to you?” will immediately and emphatically say, “Yes!”. Really?
How many times have you watched people tell you how important family is and yet they spend most of their time at work or on the golf course? Or, when they get home, instead of spending time with family, do more work in the evenings or spend time on solo hobbies? Do you ever wonder how much time there is left to spend with the kids and with their spouse?
How much time does it take to connect? The time it takes to have your evening meal? Are you connecting at all? What would the members of your family say if they were asked about your commitment to them?
Familiarity of the home, the people in it, the routines (or not) and the day in and day out activities can put some people to “sleep” to the realities of spending real quality time with their families.
How much time is enough? Do you feel connected to members of your family? Do they feel connected to you? Does your spouse feel “the honeymoon is over” or does your spouse feel the honeymoon is on-going? When was the last time you dated your spouse? Do each of your children get individual attention? Do you know who their friends are and what they do all day? Do your children and spouse talk to you about “everything” or do you know very little about what is going on inside their hearts and minds?
And how do other members of your family feel about your connection with them – do you call your parents? uncles & aunts? cousins? in-laws? – how often do you see them?
Regularly, it’s a good idea to think about these questions – one day, in a wink, one of these people could be gone forever – will you have any regrets?
These are some things to think about and a way to measure how important family is to you. If family is not important to you, that’s okay – a lot of people don’t have that value as a top priority. If, however, family is your number one priority then have the courage to measure it, to face up to the reality – are your words compatible with your actions?
No one can ever really tell you the right amount of time to spend with your family members – that’s up to you and them – make sure it’s enough!