I have said several times that we indicate the importance we place on various people and things by the time and money we are willing to spend on those people or things. My friend Juan, in sharing his views on the value of time, our most valuable and limited resource, likens working to selling our time to our employer. It seems that the older we get, the faster time flies, and hopefully the more we appreciate the value of what remains.
Rick Warren says, “The most desired gift of love is not diamonds or roses or chocolate. It is focused attention.” I have also shared how I regret not spending more time with my kids as they were growing up, and less time on work and travel for work. The time and focused attention I did provide my children were related to the level of my availability and closeness to them emotionally as well as physically.
While caught up in your career, it is easy for a father to think of himself as a good provider, providing a house and food for all the family, as well as toys and other leisure items. But the time provided is of more importance, and it seems to me that I didn’t really realize that until the children were all grown, and out of the house on their own.
Now, with elderly parents and a couple grandchildren, I think that there is another thing related to time that demonstrates love as well – and that is patience. It goes back to the term Rick Warren used – “focused attention.” Giving our time to another person means being indeed focused on the other person and their needs and desires. I think that one of the best indicators of being focused on the other person, the beloved person, is being patient with them. This applies to the elderly parents and their health issues or their desire to learn something about computers and the internet. And it applies to the grandchildren, being able to focus on the game that they want to play or the story that they want to share.
We all know that grandparents think that their grandchildren are the best, and often share those thoughts with others. So in Spain, when you say something in praise of yourself, the other person will say that it appears that you don’t have a grandmother. In other words, if you don’t have a grandmother to tell others how great you are, you have to do it yourself.
Becoming impatient is a sign to me that I am putting my desires ahead of those of the person I say I love. What about you? Isn’t there someone that you love that you could give more focused attention to, and be more patient with? Why not make a conscious effort to do so today?
The picture above is from the Picasso museum in Buitrago, Spain. It contains the artwork that Picasso dedicated to and gave to his barber, who was from Buitrago. The barber left the collection to the town when he died.