Time With Your Child -- March 1, 2013
I recently saw the movie “56 Up,” the latest installment in a fascinating documentary series that explores how our early experiences in life affect future happiness and success. Learn more about the films
I was most struck by a comment made by Peter, one of the film’s subjects, when he was asked about the most important thing he had done for his children (now 19 and 16). Peter responded, “It’s the time we spend with them, isn’t it? That’s the greatest gift we can give them—our time.”
All parents want what is best for our children. Part of our job is to be forward thinking—choosing the right schools and equipping them with every advantage so they are prepared to face the real world as adults. So we focus our resources on tutoring, piano lessons, and soccer. And that’s not a bad thing—all of these are important. They’re just not all that’s important.
Peter’s comment reminded me that the relationship our children have with us, and their memory of their experiences with us, shapes the person they become. Our time together enriches their sense of belonging, their self-esteem, and their own future parenting styles.
As parents and guardians, we have the best opportunity to establish in our children’s minds that they have a home base—a safe harbor—that they can always return to; that they can love, and be loved, unconditionally; and that they are persons of value with whom we want to spend time.
As we wage the endless struggle to fit everything in, let's remember that the time we spend with our children—on a family vacation, playing a board game, or simply discussing the school day—is likely to be the most valuable enrichment we can offer them.
Lower School Director