Time with parents should come naturally as families go through regular daily and weekly activities such as eating meals, traveling to and from school, shopping, attending church together, etc. Even during the evening, parents are nearby as students complete their homework, receiving help from parents as necessary. This is a simple principle that is easy to understand, yet family time is often compromised by excessive activities. Sports, dance, karate, music lessons are some examples of activities that are good for many reasons, but their long-term value is minuscule compared with family time.

Activities are not the only way that children are denied what they need from their parents. Like our culture at large, parents can get too absorbed with their smartphones. The problem is not that the children miss out on time with their parents. The problem is that they do not have the attention of their parents. While it is good that they are in the same room with the children, if their attention is on their phones then it is not on their children. Phones are useful tools but they can keep us from our God-given responsibilities if we are not mindful of them.I urge our parents to perform a family time audit. Keep track of your family time during a specified period such as a week or a month. Once you have the raw data, put your activities into categories and decide if your family is spending time doing the best things. Are some activities out of balance? What values have led you to your current commitments? The message from our society is that activities, sports, the arts, and other pursuits are necessary. In fact, they are merely good, and when in excess, they actually detract from what is best.