by Joe LaCombe
There are 168 hours in a week. If we’re lucky, we get 8 hours of sleep a night. I myself work an average of 9 hours a day, some days a little more, others a little less. Deduct another hour per day for my commute. Factor in that my son generally sleeps an extra hour than I do, that’s 7 hours a week. Then remove another 4 hours on average for extracurricular activities and getting to and from, and finally count another 4 for our church-based ministries we’re involved in as well as Mass.
That leaves 47 hours. 47 hours I have every week to spend with my son. After everything is said and done, that’s 47 hours I have to spend with my wife.
For some of you, this number may be more. For others, this number may be less. But the bottom line is this – we as men do not have much time with our families. We don’t have that much time with our spouses, and unfortunately, we don’t have much time with our sons and daughters.
And so, in the time we do have – do we make it count? What do we do with our 47 hours?
I was thinking about all this as I was in the midst of a boy’s weekend with my son. My wife was helping with the women’s CRHP retreat weekend, and so she was gone all weekend. I spent a lot of time with my son, starting with his basketball game. Then we went downtown to the Indiana State Museum, we played baseball in the backyard, and ate pizza for dinner while we watched a movie.
One of our favorite things to do from time to time is to have a campout in the living room, where we create a pallet of blankets on the living room floor, light a fire in the fireplace and spend the night there. We went to early Mass and then out to breakfast after, followed by more backyard baseball after Religious Ed.
It was great, and my son had a great time. But when I asked him what his favorite part of the weekend was, he could not find an answer. Knowing my son, I knew the answer. It wasn’t any one thing – it wasn’t the museum, or the basketball game, or the baseball, or the meals, or sleeping on the floor by the fireplace. It was simply the time. It was the discussions during those activities, all the questions he had – the serious things and silly things. It was the rides in the car, just talking, and being quiet.
It was the time.
It made me think about how fast he is growing and how very little time I actually do have with him, the very little time I have with my wife, and how very little time we have with our loved ones in general. I’m not writing this saying that we as men, as fathers and as husbands should work less and sacrifice more and all that other stuff. We know what we struggle with and what we can do better. But we do what we have to do for our families, to provide for the ones we love.
What I want you to ask yourself is – What do you do with your 47 hours, or whatever your number is?
Is your number less, or is it about the same? Are there some changes you can make to make it more? Or are there things you can do to make the time you have more effective and memorable and more influential with your family? And out of all those hours, how much of those do you spend talking with your Heavenly Father, and perhaps more importantly – listening to Him?
Could you sacrifice some work? Or yes, sacrifice some sleep to spend more time with Him in prayer, reading scripture or going to an early morning Mass, thanking Him and asking Him to help you with being a better man, husband, or father? Maybe turn the radio off on your commute to say the rosary?
The thing is, we have the time. We have the time for our families, and we have time for God. And when we make time for God, more time seems to open up.
As Matthew Kelly says, “He who makes time for prayer, seems to have more time for everything else. When he doesn’t make time for prayer, there is never enough time for anything else.”
Men, what do you do with your 47 hours? What do you do with your time? Because that’s all our families want from us is just our time. That’s all God wants from us. And time spent with us is what they both will remember.