Quality Time Worth Remembering
Spending time versus spending quality time.
This looks like it could be me just tuning out, but It’s merely me looking at the next piece of a 28 foot long shelving unit that spans 4-walls and contemplating how we’re gonna’ make this work.
Outside of that, in the last 48-hours my son and I have spent about 10-hours fumbling our way through a closet buildout.
10 hours of mess-ups, splinters, holes in fingers, squished fingernails, finding studs, missing studs, cutting wood, messing cuts up, stripping screws, screwing things up & screwing things in.
Spending quality time with someone is different than just working with them. It’s different than just sitting and watching a movie. Having dinner with someone but not having a conversation.
Quality time isn’t just being there, it’s engaging and attention-based. It’s being mindful. It’s intentional.
In other words, being somewhere with someone but not giving them any attention is not to be confused with spending quality time with them.
Spending quality time is about building relationships and actually doing something together. It’s asking questions, listening and absorbing. It’s being empathetic in some fashion towards the one you’re with. It’s trying to see things from their perspective.
It can be educational where one person learns from the other. Or, both learn from each other. As long as both sides are engaged.
It can be entertaining where one or both people make each other laugh, regularly.
It can be a conversation where it’s just a good ole-fashioned talk. Could be a heart-to-heart, but what’s important is that it’s two-sided and not just a lecture. This can be on a couch, in a car, on a walk, out fishing, over a campfire, or just sitting on a beach looking out over the water.
It can be a shared goal – working together on a project, a puzzle, a clean-up, a build, whatever. But there has to be some sort of engagement for it to mean something.
Sure, we aggravated each other, tried to stab each other with screws, hit each other with hammers, knocked into each other, gave frogs when we could and nearly pantsed each other.
But we also spent quality time. We started and finished this project a little bit smarter and know each other a little bit better… again.
I say “again”, because his 12-yr old self is different from his 11-yr old self, which is different from the 9-yr old him, and so on.
“Who are you?” I regularly say to him as I watch this man-child work his way through his many thoughts and actions. “What is he thinking?” “What is going through his mind?” “What is he learning or taking away from this?”
And, I’ll be honest, this part is tough. I don’t know how much of any of this he’ll actually remember. Like, really, the 10+ hours might actually be recalled later in life as “oh yeah, I think we once built out a closet together.”
Oh, and there’s one other thing as it relates to quality time. Being engaged and fully present is important. Just being with someone is not enough (clearly there are exceptions to this). Having dinner but being on your phone looking at social media and not paying attention is not quality time. Talking with someone while reading or sending texts takes away from the impact.
I sometimes struggle with this and find myself drifting off. As a matter of fact, I got called out for sending a message to a friend this morning while I was listening to my youngest read – she had stopped reading and after several seconds I looked up to see her glaring at me. She didn’t say a word but had that look of disappointment that just about anyone could have recognized – I immediately felt her message and set my phone down and the reading started right back up.
Learning to be mindful and present is an ongoing thing, apparently. I feel like I learn the lesson and then learn it all over again… and again.
I goof up and then reel myself back in.
Engagement is critical to quality time and relationship building. Lack of engagement leads to feelings of loneliness, even when we’re with someone.
The next time you want to truly spend time with someone you care about, do something that matters. Not just an experience where you were both there, but a shared experience that becomes a memory worth remembering.
Quality time that’s worth remembering is the greatest example of time well spent!
If you found this at all helpful, please drop me a comment or smash your favorite reaction button. Have an experience of your own to share, please do so as I’d love to see it.
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