Why the Time We Spend with Children is the Most Important Time of All

I’ve always said my wife, Polly, has the best response I’ve ever heard when someone asks her, “What do you do?”

“I don’t know,” she says, “but I do it all day long.”

Any mom out there who is busy raising children and running the household knows exactly what she is talking about when she says that. Raising children is exhausting work for a reason—it is some of the most critically important work people do on this planet.

Every now and then, sometimes when I’m on the road with Women of Faith, a mom will ask me something like this: “I feel guilty being a ‘stay-at-home’ mom. While others are out changing the world, I’m at home changing diapers. What should I do?”

I’ve thought about this question a lot. After all, I have two boys of my own, and I often have to decide between taking on another speaking date that will cause me to miss several days at home, or stay at home and spend time with Austin and Adam.

Here is what I have come to realize: the time we spend with our children might just be the most important time we spend while we’re alive. Remember the butterfly effect? The actions you take today, however big or small, can radically change the course of someone else’s life years from now. Who knows—maybe that extra hour or two we spend just having a casual conversation with our children will contain a crucial bit of wisdom that they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Of course, this is not to say that spending time with our children is the only important, world-changing thing we can do. If you have been led to help people beyond the walls of the home, by all means, go for it. But next time you feel that little bit of doubt that what you do within the walls of your home might not be that important, remember—the actions you take today can affect billions tomorrow.



  1. Wonderful post! Much needed reminder!

  2. Wonderful post Andy! I re-wrote your article in my journal as I was sitting in my car waiting for my son. I can’t tell you how much I treasure the time we have together on our long commute back home from his boarding school. Even if the conversation stops and all we hear is the hum of the engine… just being together swells my heart with such joy!

  3. 2 years ago
    Cynthia Penny says

    In 1995 I worked part time with my husband. My girls were in school one was 5 and the other one 8 yrs. of age. We also had a 4 yr. old son at home. I couldn’t afford to go to work. Pay a babysitter for my son and then pay for child care after school. It seemed the best thing to do was stay home with my son and go to work with my husband as he was in construction. Construction for a woman was one thing but taking a 4yr. old to work was another thing. As school begin to progress that yr. my daughter would come home from the school bus in tears. I was very concerned about her. She was a bright girl full of energy and loved to learn. But for some reason school was not what she had expected that yr. her grade began to fall. And then with the crying daily I would question her and all she could say was her teacher was rude and she was mean to the whole class. I question her daily and she talked openly to me. I called other parents and all the children had the same response. But it wasn’t as upsetting to them as it was to my daughter. I tried getting her room changed, I went to the board of education to see if there was anyway they could change teachers. All I got was a no. Well I didn’t want to go to jail but I couldn’t stand seeing my child tormented daily. I couldn’t afford daycare so what was I to do? In no way shape or form could I pay for private school. But, I went and talked to the teachers at the private schools anyway. I went to both of the schools in our home town and both of the leaders knew my husband as he was raised in church with one of them and grew up really close to the other one. Both of these leaders understood our situation and lead me into the area of investigating Home Schooling. I was so unsure of home schooling I searched and searched and called and researched some more. I finally told my husband that was what we were to do and the next yr. we would put them back in public school and if they lost anything in learning then maybe they would get it back the next yr. I purchased used home school literature. Registered with our state and got the children and myself on our way to a new adventure. Unknowing to me what Abeka Christian Academy was. Or what Bob Jones University was. At the time my husband and I were lost and undone as we didn’t either one know Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. I began to use this literature to teach our children bible, english, reading, math, and so on. Daily we were getting Bible lessons in our hearts and in April of the next yr. 1996 I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. In May of the same yr. my husband was born again. In May we did home school testing!! Our kids scored great on the test and we were pleased with there studies that yr. Remember our plan was to put the children back in public school the next yr. Well our plan and God’s plan didn’t match. God spoke to me in my heart and I knew I was never to allow our children back in public school. I couldn’t tell my husband. I prayed daily. God if this is what I am to do please show my husband. Tell my husband. He will not take this from me and I knew it. I knew it would have to be from God for him to agree with me. 3 weeks before school was to start in the fall of 1996 my husband called all of us into the living room by his chair where we would have our family prayer time. And he began to tell all of us how God had spoke to his heart and that they were to never go to public school again. How God said he would provide for us to home school them til they finished high school. Now I am so excited!! God has revealed to both of us what his plan is for our family. School starts and all three of our children accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of there lives. Today I was reading your devotion and how many days went by that I didn’t feel like I was worth very much. I didn’t feel like I was changing much in the world but today. I have three children that are grown. Love the Lord and all three of them married Christians. All six of them work for the Lord and serve him. Our daughters have children of their own now that they are bring up in the Lord. I am so happy we chose to do what God ask us to do. There is a lot more to this story. I am running out of time so I will stop for now. But, God provided and remember in the beginning we couldn’t even afford daycare much less feeding them all three meals each day that went by. Plus having the money to buy school books every yr. along with buying end of year test and all the extra’s that they needed along the way. I am so thankful to God for his help and realizing no matter how bad things look. Always put Him first and life will work out!!!!

  4. Andy, I agree that time, especially the early years are citicial for a child. It makes all the difference in their bonding with family, future relationships, even school success. Though I raised my twin sons from diapers to adulthood as a single mom and worked full time as an educator as well, I didn’t know about the terrible statistics of the outcome of fatherless children. I researched it for a Father’s Day blog “What’s in a Name? Abba? Father?” [www.button-to-god.com June 17] Though your wife says she doesn’t know what she does, but she does it all day long (which makes me smile), it is the most important blessing she can give to your children and God. Jo Russell

  5. 2 years ago
    Angela Millard says

    I was so confused when God made me a stay-at-home mom a year ago. I am educated, have earning potential and was raised to “carry my part of the load” so I have wrestled with feelings of guilt for not working. Through prayer, Bible searching and Godly counsil, I’m over that and have come to stand on these truths. The God who holds me in the palm of His hand has brought me to this point for a purpose so I won’t question the value of it. There are ugly things in the world that Satan tries to reach my two kids with. God has placed me in a better position to be a fierce gatekeeper for my home through fervent prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit. We felt that we were doing ok before, but now I am totally available mentally and physically to train up these children in the way they should go. For reasons only God knows, this is right for right now. I have learned to not ask why but just say, “Yes sir!” I’m with Carrie Underwood on this one….”Jesus, take the wheel”

  6. 2 years ago
    kristal nugent says

    I quit working when my youngest was born. She’s now 10, and i’ve never gone back. Lots of people have told me it’s easier to go back to school when they are all in school. I’ve found that by that time the kids are busier with activities, so the time they aren’t in school needs to be devoted to them. I get all my household work done while they are gone. Now I have teenagers, and my oldest often has friends over to see what a functional family looks like. I don’t know how many times he’s told his friends how much he loves his family, when all they can do is complain about their’s. We are blessed so that finances don’t force me to work, and i can always go back when they are out of the house. Never feel guilty about not working out of the home. Raising future adults is the most important thing we can do.

  7. 2 years ago
    Marjorie Roets says

    I understand the feeling of staying at home and going to work. I stayed with my children at home until they went to school and then got a part time job so I could be home with them when they were home. My children have grown up to be very responsible people. We were also Navy at the time so we moved a lot. I am proud of my children and where they are and am glad that I had time with them as they were growing and at home. Taking them to church and making sure that they were able to enjoy the company of others their age in church projects helped. I thank God for that precious time. As I look back the time went by very fast but at the time it seemed to crawl. God is good and we have done well to make it through with his help so far. We will keep Jesus in our sights and continue on with whatever he has in store for us now. Blessings to all. Marge