You may or may not know this, but my full-time job that I've had for the past 10-and-a-half years came to an end on July 31. It was a difficult decision on the part of my former employer, who is also a friend, but I know that God is in this and it's for the best.
As a result of having limited income, we've made some changes to our family budget. We had some savings built up for just this sort of thing but we knew that we'd have to make some cuts in order to stretch those dollars as far as they'll go. We cut our Hulu+ subscription, Spotify Premium, cable TV (still have internet...obviously), and we don't go out to eat as often as we did (although we still try to hit up the Cracker Barrel after church on Sundays).
I was driving around with Garrett (now 9 years old) a couple of weeks ago and was asking him how my losing my job had affected us. We've had to say no to some things that the kids have asked to do simply because of the severely limited income. We try to keep it light, but sometimes have to be very blunt with them to get them to look beyond themselves and see the bigger picture.
When I asked Garrett how my losing my job had affected our family, I was expecting him to mention missing out on the NASA trip with the Classical Conversations group, or losing Spotify Premium, which he and Vivian would use to listen to their favorite music. I was even expecting him to say something about not getting to eat out as much as we did. What he did say completely floored me:
"We get to spend more time together."
Did you get that? Of all the things that we've "lost" through my unemployment, Garrett is focused on what we've gained.
It's not like I worked 60 hours a week at an office somewhere. My office is five steps off the back of our house. The kids had instant access any time they needed or wanted to see me. For whatever reason, though, Garrett sees my unemployment as a positive because we've gained something that no amount of money can buy.
Parents, your kids don't need the latest gadgets or the coolest clothes. They don't need you to send them to summer camp, youth camp, band camp, or soccer camp.
Your kids don't need more stuff. They need more of you. More of your time. More of your attention.
Quality time is a myth. Quality time is a needle in the haystack of quantity time. What can you do today to spend more time with your family? What would it cost you?
What would you gain? Connection. A conduit through which to pour your values (faith) into your child.
This is too important to neglect. I dare say that there are very few people who, on their death bed, wish they had more money. Infinitely more people wish they had more time.
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