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THE increased pace of business and life styles has resulted in many fathers' spending long periods of time away from home. I myself frequently fly off, while my wife and children stay at home. Before a recent flight, my three-year-old son came up to me, sat on my lap, and - looking at me with his big clear eyes - said, ``I think just maybe you should stay home with me.... I love you, Daddy.''

No words could have touched my heart and sent swallowed tears down my throat more than those.

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No one is more saddened by my departures than my children. No one else dances in pure and complete joy at my return. I often wonder with gratitude at the unconditional love given so freely by those two little beings of light.

Parenting magazines suggest that we need not worry about spending a great deal of time with our children as long as we spend ``quality time.''

I don't agree.

Every time, every moment, should be ``quality time.'' Children don't differentiate between the events that take place while with their family - it's the doing of the events with their parents that counts the most.

Flying high above the clouds, my thoughts are constantly returning to the moments spent with my family. Looking out of the plane's window, I am keenly aware that, despite the great physical distances between us, we are never separated - love always keeps us together.

Gerit D. Mulder


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If you would like to share a short constructive experience about family relationships, please send it with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to In the Family, Home & Family page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115. Sorry, there is no payment, and we cannot reply to submissions, which become wholly the Monitor's property and are subject to editing.

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