The 36 minute family

by Scott Bowen May 04, 2016

The 36 minute family

How busy are you?

Have you ever felt like the word “busy” doesn’t even begin to describe your life? If you’re anything like me, life can be so hectic it sometimes feels like you haven’t seen your family in days, despite living under the same roof with them.

In fact, a recent survey that asked families how much time they spend together daily found some pretty shocking results. On average, the families surveyed were only managing to squeeze in 36 minutes of family time each day.

The word “busy” simply doesn’t do today’s family life justice. Families are under immense time constraints due to work and school commitments, as well as extra-curricular and social obligations. This routine and pace can eat into our quality time with our families if we aren’t careful.

This isn’t exactly heartening news, nor is it surprising. But let’s not let it get us down. We can still find ways to put our family first in spite of our busy schedules. If we can’t go for quantity, we can focus on the quality of our time spent together.

Being Intentional

So, here’s a question:

“If  you have only 36 minutes, how could you as a parent maximize the quality of the  time spent with your family?

For me, it’s all about being intentional.

There’s a lot of talk these days about living “intentionally.” Essentially, this means being fully present in the moment and aware of the reasons behind our actions. When we engage intentionally in our family life, we will see a great return on our investment over time. When we are intentional about connecting with our families, we maximize opportunities to learn about our family members. We begin to know their likes and dislikes and to understand their thoughts and feelings, and we are allowed insight into their fears, hopes, and dreams. By approaching our family through long term acts of intentionality, we will grow closer, build trust in our relationships, and strengthen our family unit overall.

Here’s another question:

What is the one thing you would like to learn about each family member?

The next time you are home with your family, practice being intentional by asking each other engaging questions. If you are having trouble getting the conversation started, try these three conversation starters and see where the conversation ends up!

  1.     What will your face look like in 30 years?
  2.     If money really did grow on trees how would you use it?
  3.     Who is one person outside of your family you can tell anything to?


The Here’s a Question project provides resources and encouragement to help families get the most of your time together. For more information go to

Scott Bowen
Scott Bowen


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