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Bon Journal

Quality time

Setting aside time to listen to each other and share experiences - that is what quality time is all about.

In these days of information overload, attention shortage, and other demands on the already time-challenged individual, quality time is a luxury.

So today I set aside time for my dear friend who became a friend from the very beginning. Although we never kept in touch on a regular basis and sometimes that was as often as every two years, she's the kind of friend I know I could pick up conversation at any time.

Quality time means putting aside everything and dedicating yourself to maximising the value of that time spent together. It symbolises a deliberate switching off of distractions and tuning into being with the other person.

If I could provide quality time for every single one of my long distance friends when they visit, when I visit, or when we rendezvous somewhere, the value may even exceed the total of all the frivolous, unfocussed time spent together over the years.

Today I gave her a sample of my life: my latest obsession for picking wild berries and baking teacakes and cookies. I shared with her my compositions and the highlights of the last ten years. It was a side of me she hadn't seen before because I had none of this back in Singapore.

She said that children these days don't get enough attention from their parents, who give them everything but quality time. I was lucky to have a mother who stopped working to have me - and I've never known her not to give me the attention I needed. I have a hypothesis that such quality time is what makes all the difference in the world: whether a child grows up motivated or not - because he knows that his parents cared enough to give him time rather than money, toys, and everything else that money cannot buy.

31 August 2001