Susanne and I read Gary Chapman's book called The 5 Love Languages years ago. My love language is quality time; in other words, the best gift my family can give me is time hanging out. (My wife of 16 years is convinced that it is physical touch but she is wrong. That is me just being a guy).
I want to share what I have done as a husband and dad to ensure we have quality time. As a leader, manager, and dedicated employee of ACS Technologies, work can be pretty demanding as I am sure many of your jobs are, too. To accomplish Quality Time, I have to be intentional with making it happen.
When home, Be Home
Most days I am at work by 8:15am. Why 8:15 and not 8 on the dot? I value being able to take my kids to school. That quality time first thing in the morning is priceless. My days at work are usually pretty emotionally draining. Leading, coaching, and investing in people is my top priority but also draining at times. If you know anything about me personally, I am a natural introvert (say no more). Back to my point: When I come home from work, my goal is to be home and my focus changes to them. Some days I leave at 5:30pm, others, 7pm. Point is, I get to a place so I can leave my work at work.
Simply eat together at the kitchen table when possible. Try not to have cell phones. Try not to leave the table before all are done eating. This makes for a great time to talk with family about their day.
Invest in Kids
The above helps with this. My goals as a dad is to look for the ways to spend time with our kids. It may be watching Les Miserable (kidding, Les Misérables) with my daughter, playing XBox One with my oldest son, or writing a computer program with my youngest. This is so important and probably my biggest area of this list to work on. I am not sure if I could ever do enough here.
I know... I hear all sort of productivity people and get-er-done types say don't waste time like that. I disagree though. My marriage is way more important than anything those productivity people say. After we put the kids to bed each night, Susanne and I cuddle up on the couch and watch TV. We don't have cable tv, we have Hulu for current shows (get a free week to try it out) & Netflix for movies and older shows. This time is priceless for our relationship!
The item above helps with this. Susanne and I always go to bed together. At the same time. Even if the other is not quite ready.
My goal for 2015 is to continue to do the above and alway look for ways for us to spend even more time together. Our kids are growing up and will not be under our care forever. Each moment is precious, and I must be intentional about finding ways to capture as many as I can before it's too late!