Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Memory Making

I have memories from my childhood that will go down in family folk lore. You know, those kinds of memories that we still laugh about when we all get together. I remember a certain piggy back fight on a beach. I remember my sister riding her bike into a thorny bush. I remember birthday parties, well planned and executed by my creative mum. I remember family meal times with too many people squashed around the table as the teenage friends of my brother and sister joined us (and I fell in love with most of those teenage friends too). I remember water fights with my sister. I remember playing schools and estate agents. We all have childhood memories - both good and the not so good.

I want my boys to be able to remember good times we have had as a family. I don't want them to remember the way I shout at them in the mornings to "STOP FIGHTING WITH YOUR TOOTHBRUSHES AND JUST CLEAN YOUR TEETH!". I don't want them to remember the times I have made mistakes (and oh there are SO many). I want them to remember the times we laughed together and played together.

Making memories has to be intentional though. Of course, there are spontaneous times that they will remember when we have danced around the kitchen together, skidding across the floor with our air guitars and clasping a wooden spoon microphone. (No? Not in your house? Oh, just my house then...) But so often life speeds by more quickly than we could possibly imagine, and if we don't plan to make memories with our children then we could be waving them goodbye at 18 with the regrets of the things we never did because we were too busy.

One of our great family memories has been our trips camping in 'The Field'. Today at school Max had to take in a photograph of a special place and he took one of 'The Field'. He stood up in his class and told his classmates about the 'secret island', the rope swing, the treasure he collected, the trees to climb, the stream to cross and the fires he had. I realised that this is one very special memory, not just for him but for our whole family. A memory we can treasure.

Memories are like treasure to be collected along the way. We store them away in our treasure box (or if you are Jonah, a 'treasure drawer' which smells distinctly fishy at the moment - I must stop procrastinating and sort it out) and we bring them out when we want to feel good. As parents we need to be intentional about collecting and treasuring the memories that make our family who we are. Then, when we kiss our boys goodbye when they are 18 (or 19 or 20) we can be assured that they are taking their treasure box of memories with them, which will be passed on to their children too. What a privelege it is to be a parent. What treasures and simple delights we can give our children.

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