What sort of value are we providing to our personal relationships?
Take for example, the father who pays $100/week to send his son to a top-notch baseball trainer. That father might make the assumption that his investment in his child is a valuable gift, but in what way?
There is value in that experience, specific to sports skills, but the financial investment by the father adds only abstract value to the relationship that he has with his son. No matter how much it costs, it’s merely a money-gift, and the recipient can’t always quantify that.
Take now, the father who spends 2 hrs/week playing catch with his son in their yard instead. The relationship value added here is not abstract.
Depending on how much money the father makes, $100 could be a large investment or a small one. Money is relative. The child probably knows little about the value of a financial gift, since his father is the one who understands his own salary.
Our basic human instincts, which are largely how we perceive our personal relationships, do not take financial investments into high consideration. An investment of time, on the contrary, is absolute.
The CEO of a company who is under scrutiny for not caring about the public’s well-being cannot donate money to a charity and expect suddenly to be seen as a philanthropist. People want to see the CEO get his hands dirty… picking up trash in an alley, speaking to an eager high school crowd, helping to build a house after a hurricane, etc. People want to see the CEO spending TIME, not money. They are not the same.
We cannot buy our relationships with money.
Time, on the other hand, is absolute. No matter how much money we make, we each only have 24 hours in a day. Deciding to gift several of those hours on another person has absolute value. If we want to build better relationships with our family, friends, peers, or employees, we need to consider what we are willing to spend on them.
In case you are reading this and do not know me personally: I am a huge advocate for healthy living. This article details one reason why I believe that health is an intricate factor in the success of our personal relationships.
Our longevity is directly related to the amount of time we feel comfortable spending on selfless pursuits. If each of us knew that we’d live to be 90 years old (rather than the declining national average – good article on that here), we’d be a little less prone to hoard every hour of our day, and in turn, might spend more time creating lasting relationships by giving our TIME, not our money.