The school never called. When I picked him up from the car line I knew something was off. The offense was quickly admitted to and I sighed. My son’s daddy was out of the country and I had been a “single-mom” for about three weeks at this point. I was tired. I was stressed, and I was not prepared to have to deal with punishing our son for bad choices made at school.

Was it because his father was gone that he was acting out?

Later, with tears of sorrow and deep hugs, I realized something deeper was going on in his heart. I wish I had a special machine to look inside his child-mind and find the source of the fear, anxiety, or frustration that was causing this uncharacteristic behavior from him. Unfortunately, I didn’t and I struggled with the right words.

It was time I admitted we had a big family (five kids) and I need to start working on being intentional.

The next night we worked on a history report together. Instead of begrudging it (like I usually do), I stayed positive and upbeat. I was generally interested in his research and listened as he told me everything he had learned.Never once did he complain. It seemed he was craving intentional time together.

As I headed to bed, I realized being intentional doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy. I used to think I had to set aside hours at a time to have “quality” time. Instead, being intentional is the simple moments together.

I’m no expert when it comes to knowing all there is to know, but I know it takes time.

1. Simple is key. People are happiest in our presence. Anytime in our presence is a gift. If you can spend time in person with someone, do it. Nothing replaces face-to-face.

2. Small amounts of time add up. A few minutes everyday add up to a lifetime of moments together. Spend just 15minutes with someone extra today. Listen to their story. Call someone on the phone.

3. Stay present throughout the day. During the day we are working people interrupt us. I’ve learned to expect it. So start expecting interruptions so you won’t get frustrated when it happens.

4. Start planning. The biggest thing I can do is work in my intentional time with planning. It doesn’t go on the calendar, it goes on my heart. I have their names and faces and I’m working on spending one-on-one time with each one of them sometime throughout the day.

We can all do a little bit here and there, keeping it simple and letting the small amounts of time add up.