Give the Gift of Quality Time

I can remember it well. I was nine-years-old when my parents put my brother Jeff and me on a plane from California to the far off land of Colorado to visit my grandma. That was back in the day when they could buckle our seatbelts and turn us over to the flight attendants. Heck, I remember my grandpa sneaking onto the plane moments later before the doors closed to send us off. Times sure have changed.

I loved those trips to see Grandma in Colorado. Looking back, there’s one memory I’m not necessarily proud of. From the outset of those trips, one of my goals was to get her to take us to a magical place called Walmart and spend money on us — and every other word out of my mouth worked toward that angle — without ceasing. It’s not something I’m terribly proud of.

Now I have a nine-year-old of my own and we’re in the even further off land of Texas visiting grandparents — family we used to see almost weekly until we all moved away. As I watch him angle them for the latest, greatest in technology, I find myself trying to impart on him a bit of perspective.

I’ve said goodbye to nearly all of my grandparents in the past decade and when I think about the many visits, it’s not the gifts they gave that last in my memory. No, it’s the quality time spent with me. The time playing games, doing puzzles, getting back scratches, and hearing all of the stories of stupid things my parents did when they were my age. Those are the memories that stand the test of time. And what I wouldn’t give to get one more gift of their quality time this Christmas.

Admittedly that perspective is not something I’ve fully mastered thirty years later — but I’m working on it. Sometimes it’s a matter of making each moment something you’d be proud to look back on in the future.

This season, take the time to give someone else the gift of quality time — and as a commentary on our culture — that might mean turning off the smart phone, silencing social media, and having a good ‘ole conversation. You certainly won’t remember all of the likes and favorites you got for Christmas.

For those of you giving quality time but not necessarily receiving it in return, give it no less. Thirty years ago a snotty nosed brat was given that gift and it’s something he truly cherishes.

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