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It is often so hard to wake up in the morning, after only 6 hours of sleep. I thought I heard the doctor tell mum that I needed 10 hours.

Life is just too much trouble. It’s no fun getting to school with a rumble in my tummy and having to wait until the short break before I eat breakfast. Lunch is just as bad because it is cold and the water is warm. Thank God I have juice today.  Then comes homework. I think the teachers just like to punish us by drowning us in homework! It takes forever to do the work and by the time I’m done, I’m so tired!

I wonder what happened to the good-old-days mum and dad talk about when they were little. Why don’t we have parks anymore where I can play? Why are there so many cars on the road so I’m not allowed to ride my bike? Why are there no trees to climb anymore? I wonder why?

This is the story of the average Nigerian child who lives in Lagos. From as young as 6 months, children are shipped off to different schools and daycare centres at dawn, only to return at dusk. From the various road expansion projects and the current financial instability causing parents to work longer hours, to the vibrant social life of Lagosians resulting in late nights even on weekends, children have literarily been taken off the ‘urgent and important’ quadrants of their parents. These precious gifts from God – who we all work so hard for – are often overlooked in the scheme of things.

We provide good quality education, we provide toys and computer games, we provide nannies and drivers, we even provide ‘lesson teachers’ to support what the schools are doing. The one thing we seem unable to provide is that which is needful – quality time engaging our children. “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

At this point, I can almost hear the sighs and hisses of guilt-struck mothers and fathers wondering what to do. Where do I get the time to spend quality time with my family? What do you mean by quality time? Does that mean I can’t take my much-needed siesta after service on Sundays because I need to spend time with my children?

Quality time, through the eyes of a child, is this:

  • The time taken to notice that my uniform has become too small and I need a new one even though it’s not the end of the school year;
  • The time taken to listen when I moan about my classmates calling me names;
  • The time taken to teach me to tie my shoe laces for the 14th time so I don’t trip on my way up the stairs in school;
  • The time taken to hold me and tell me I’m special when I feel my peers are all better, faster, taller, better looking and smarter than I am;
  • The time invested in sharing your personal experiences that can teach me to stand tall in the face of pressure;
  • The time taken to share your world with me and ask my opinion on ‘important’ stuff;
  • The time taken to attend my school concerts and assemblies so I can show you off to my friends;
  • The time taken to call me during the day, just to say you care;
  • The time taken to pray with me, strengthening me to face the world alone as I venture off to college;
  • The time taken to take me for my driving test, cheering me as I run the cones down;
  • The time taken to be my parent, my teacher, my friend.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives liberally and without reproach and it will be given him.” James 1:5. Praise God we can receive wisdom for improved time management, free of charge, from the Creator and the Redeemer of Time.

Blessings.

JI