Meaning, one of the Five Principles of Resilience, can help us “Keep an Even Keel” when trying to balance the strain of transitions and separations on family relationships. Lt. Baron Miller, a Navy chaplain assigned to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, offers insight on maintaining the balance between quantity and quality to make time spent with loved ones meaningful this holiday season. –NavyNavStress.com note
As we approach the holidays there is one thing people commonly associate with the season: time with family and friends. People are accustomed to being with loved ones during the holidays—and that’s well and good. We should long to be with our family and friends while we share meals and cheer. However, I’ve observed an interesting phenomenon that occurs during the holidays and that is the expectation of quality time spent with those we love.
Everyone wants quality time; the problem is we want it like microwaved food—fast, easy, and effortless. But guess what? Relationships don’t work that way, nor do marriage and parenting. If you want quality time, you must log the quantity time.
If you’ve ever deployed, you probably understand this principle without even knowing it. Remember those first few precious days home? Though you love the ones you’re with, there is a transition period where you can find yourself readapting to the intimacy of those relationships. That’s because quality time requires quantity time. If we’re not logging in the hours of quantity time it’s difficult to expect quality time to just appear; it must be nurtured and that comes with quantity.
I recall sending postcards to my wife and kids on all my deployments. This may sound crazy, but I would try and send one every day. I would buy huge quantities of silly and serious postcards and spend whatever was necessary on the postage. Daily, I would write a sentence or two, that’s it, just to let them know I missed them and to keep myself fresh in their memories. A few words every day isn’t too difficult, but it went a long way when it came to reintegrating after deployment. It was during this time I realized that I spent the quantity time, even while deployed, that led to quality time when I arrived home.
Maybe you aren’t currently deployed, but in homeport, and life is moving at a normal pace. The danger of letting quantity time slip away is still present. We can get comfortable in routines and forget the ways we once showed those we love how much we value and appreciate them. We can forget that it is in the simple, ordinary and even mundane rhythms of quantity time spent with each other that ripen situations for quality time.
If you want the joy of intimacy that comes with quality time this holiday season, whether in your friendships, your marriage, or with your kids, first put in the quantity time.