PARENT EDUCATION: Make it a Priority to Waste Time Together

By Ron Barnes
Executive Director

A father and son went on a fishing trip. Later the son wrote in his diary, “Went fishing with Dad. It was great.” His father wrote in his journal, “Went fishing but didn’t catch anything. Pretty much a waste of time. (Story related by well-known Christian author, Dolores Curran.)

Dads often don’t realize how important their presence and influence is on their children, but in reality it is enormous.  The impact of quality time is priceless…on Dad too!

Dads, like kids, often suffer from low self-esteem; and in the adult world, productivity has a high priority and regard.  However, sometimes even on my “most productive days” I  don’t feel that great about myself. I feel like I have gone from one task to the next and there has been a lack of meaning and emotional reflection because I had to move on to something else. Productivity is definitely overrated as far as meaning making goes.

The idea of “wasting time” is becoming more and more appealing to me as I grow older and particularly as I have become a grandfather.  Think on the following advantages of wasting time with your family for a moment:

  1. Wasting time with children forces stressed parents to relax.
  2.  If fathers don’t quite get all the chores done over the weekend but do take time to “bum around” with the kids, chances are they will go back to work on Monday more refreshed and energetic.
  3. Wasting time with children is memory building for you and them.
  4. Children have much to teach us adults about how to play and be childlike ourselves; they give us this essential gift if we will receive it.
  5. Kids enable us to nurture ourselves in ways that other adults can’t do.
  6. Parents allow themselves to be known and so do kids when time is taken for them.
  7. Realize also that our immortality lies in your child’s memories. They will carry the legacy of who you are.

wastetimeThese are just seven positive and meaningful reasons to “hang out” with your children or grandchildren.  I know you can think of more.

We all know how precious time is and sometimes we can get pretty stingy with it or believe we own time (i.e. my time), but time is controlling if we allow it to be.

In my counseling at ACM, one of my most consistent assignments to parents, children, and to families is to  learn how to waste time together. I often end my counseling sessions with this assignment:  “So go ahead, waste some time, together.

Anchorpoint is available to serve you and your family.  We offer individual, marriage and family counseling to help you and your loved ones connect.  Call us today at 412-366-1300 to begin the healing process.