Winter Break: What’s Really Important?

By the time you're 18, you will have already spent 93% of the days you'll have with your parents in your entire life time. That's 6,570 days. Then you go to college, and at best, you'll see your parents 80-440 days. Post-college, 380 days. So, what should Winter Break really be about? Netflix-binging or intentional time with the people you love?

Winter break college student

By the time you’re 18, you will have already spent 93% of the days you’ll have with your parents in your entire life time.*

Think about it. From age 0 to 18, you live with your parents and probably see them and have some kind of conversation every day of your life. Sometimes those may be huge moments and memories, other times, perhaps just a hello/goodbye in passing.  But overall, from age 0-18, you see your parents every day. That’s 6,570 days.

Then you go to college, and at best, you’ll see your parents 110 days out of the year– (90 days of summer, 20 days of Winter Break), but more likely somewhere around just 20-50 considering most students don’t spend all four summers at home, usually studying abroad, being a camp counselor, or staying in their college town. That’s 80-440 days during your four years of college.

Post college, if you don’t live in the same town as your parents, you’ll see them on average of 10 days a year.  Assuming your parents like until you’re 60 years old, that’s 380 days. 

So listen up, my college-age friends.

When you go home this winter break, be intentional about spending time with your parents and siblings.  

It’s easy to head home and think that winter break is all about you.  It’s your time to destress, relax, not do school work, catch up with high school friends, and Netflix binge. It’s also easy to get super bored and  to get annoyed you’re at home for so many days when your “real life” is back at college.  It’s easy to feel like you’re just waiting for the break to be over so you can get back to it.

Resist those urges!

Instead, think about how you can have quality time with your folks and siblings. Think about how to create memories with them.  Plan a fun outing, a board game night, a family dinner where you have fishbowl questions.  Don’t expect your parents to do it– you create and initiate family time!  Seek your parents out for one on one time.  Have coffee with dad or go shopping with mom.

Look, I know they aren’t always lovable.

You may not get along with your parents and siblings all the time, I get it.  I’ve actually written about that in a few different posts.  But you saw the number of days left that you get to spend with these people. Even though 93% of your days are over post-high school, you still have a huge chunk of quality time to spend with them now, during your college years, than you do post-graduation when you live in another city and only come home for short holiday visits.

 Don’t throw this time away.

You can wait for your parents to initiate or your siblings to act like they want to spend time with you, or you can just do it and be the leader. Pursue them. Pursue your family just like you would your college friends. Show them you care about them and want to deepen your relationships with them.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)

This winter break, be love to your family. Prioritize loving them and spending quality time with them over “relaxing, de-stressing, and Netflixing.”

Trust me. You won’t regret it.

*Percentage and general day count idea from this fascinating blog.