Lately, Cathy and I have been making the effort to come home as early as we can. This involves my leaving my office at the Makati church I work for, at the stroke of 5PM, then rushing to fetch Cathy from the Philippine design school she works for – I get there usually between 6PM to 615PM, depending on the traffic from AKIC, which houses the Philippine HRIM school she also does work for, to Saint Scholastica’s College. As soon as I fetch Cathy, we take Quiapo into Dangwa, then head towards Banawe. We’re home by 7PM on average.
Leaving the house anytime between 7AM to 730AM, we hardly get to see our children. So the time we have in the evenings are precious to us. Nathan has dinner with us, then we head upstairs for precious time with Nicki before she falls asleep. (Nathan usually joins us during this time.) We then spend a little more time with Nathan before he goes to bed. By this time, it can be anywhere between 9PM – 930PM, then Cathy and I spend about 30 minutes or so, not usually more than an hour, before we go to bed ourselves.
Given the amount of time it takes to travel from Caloocan to Makati, why stick to this grueling schedule? It’s important because Cathy and I value our family and our time together. It may mean a fewer minutes’ sleep – for me, admittedly, because I’m usually up by 430AM because Nicki wakes up at that time and that’s my private prayer time with God anyway, so Nicki’s got a holy floor show – but it’s worth it. I also spend my freelance time in the mornings so it doesn’t take away time from my wife and kids. (They’re asleep right now.)
The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Pro 22:6 KJV). Training a child is more than just instruction; what our kids see will become the ultimate example. So we show our kids we value them and honor them, and try to live a life of integrity so they learn not by rote but by example.
We’re not perfect parents – far from it! – but I’m convinced that if two parents are united in their stand to make time for their children, time that is not just quantity but quality, the results in the form of God-fearing, polite, respectful children, will speak for themselves.