A college professor told us about the rigors of his routine as a Ph.D. student. He was in the library early in the morning, staying all day. After supper he either returned to the library or studied at home for hours. This routine continued for several years.
One of the students in our class asked him, "Did you have a family then?" "Yes," the professor replied. "How and when did you get to spend any time with them?" The professor smiled and said, "It’s not quantity time that counts, it’s quality time."
Quantity versus quality time is a tension for all families. There is a difference between the two. Quantity time refers to the minutes and hours we spend in each other’s presence. Quality time refers to the significance and importance of that time together.
Both quantity and quality of time is important. Quantity is important because it is the incubator of opportunity for meaningful conversation and events to occur. The eight hours working together boxing fund raising items in our garage prepared Cheryl and me to relax and reflect on what we appreciated about each other. The four hours of chasing a diapered kid around the house nurtured the moment when he or she threw their arms your neck and squealed, "I love you mommy, I love you daddy." The threads of quantity and quality intertwine. Unravel them, and you lose both quantity and quality.
I question if you can ever have much quality time without quantity. Quantity prepares and incubates the birth of the meaningful.
The holiday season is coming upon us, and beckons us to spend both quality and quantity time with our families. Let's not scrimp on either one!