“Excellence comes when we balance quality and quantity.” — Amit Ray
I don’t know much about Mr. Ray, other than that he is an author of several books and is known for his teachings on meditation, yoga, peace and compassion. I believe he is likely an intelligent and pleasant person.
What I am curious about, though, is where the intersection of quality and quantity is in life. I’ll share how I see it, based on my own experiences.
When engaging in everyday life, men tend to deal in numbers (quantity), while women often deal in emotions (quality).
For example, when talking about their children — whether it’s their first, second, third or more — mothers can recall almost every special event, down to the day. The first time he walked. What she wore on her first date with a young man. The time he had the flu and stayed home.
A father often remember how his little girl took 14 steps and ran like a sprinter when she turned 2 years old. Or how he gave his son $40 for his very first date. I remember my first date cost only $8. My daughter missed four days of school because of the flu.
Mothers and fathers look at life differently. We also look at the death of our children differently. But as parents, when we have lost a child way before their adult years, we do go back to two haunting questions: Why didn’t we spend more time with them? Why didn’t we ever go and do the things he or she really enjoyed? These questions are like a hamster on a wheel, just going around and around.
That said, here is how I use numbers or quantities when I wear hats as a dad, worker, husband, friend, co-worker, community leader, spiritual leader — and many others — to keep me from self-pity. When you become entangled with self-pity, you soon find yourself in isolation not only from others, but also from yourself. And you can’t see the positives that you have brought to your family, especially to the child that you lost.
I began to count the times I was there for birthdays. The vacations we took to many different places. Baptizing my daughters when they were young. Seeing them weekly at softball, basketball and volleyball games. Having their friends spend the night and eat everything in the fridge. Meeting the young men who took them on their first dates. Seeing them graduate from high school and college.
As moms and dads, we will never be perfect parents. We will make mistakes and learn from them and let them inform the future decisions we will make for our children. We may never get the true balance of quality and quantity right. But what I do know is that I would give my own life just to have another chance with my little girl, Abbie.
How do you experience the quality and the quantity of life, and where do they intersect?