When you hear adults lovingly describing their Mum or Dad, they use one phrase over and over.
They spent a lot of time with me.
I was struck by Simon Black’s description of his late father in this interview, at 2:41:
There is something in the parent-child dynamic that goes beyond just needing quality time. Quantity matters too.
The difficulty in being a parent is that ‘a lot of time’ is the exact opposite of what you have.
Not a lot of time. And not a lot of energy.
It is a constant struggle to push back on the ocean of demands and create the space to be present and energetic with a child for ‘a lot of time’.
Among the many roles of a good parent, this is one of the most difficult.
I hope one day my son describes me in Simon Black’s words: A great friend, and a wonderful father, who gave me a lot of time.
Time matters. But to give it requires daily effort, and a constant mindfulness.