“We were making memories!”:
My darling mother-in-law Grace, now 93, used to say about when her kids were young, that she and Marty were “making memories.” Car trips, family picnics, cold winter walks on an empty beach, cousins’ get-togethers. Thanks to them, their kids turned out to be decent, caring, curious,stable and confident adults. That’s not a coincidence
Today We Manufacture Kids:
We think in this helicopter-mom world that raising a child requires constant motion, tutoring, stimulation, and homework. (My son with disabilities has homework 4-5 days a week plus a fitness program!) We debate the activity and its effect. (Math, sports, music…) We advocate for time to play. Families complain no time is left for church.
You recognize the debate now. What’s missing? Family, doing not much together, but making memories, and doing it regularly. The home base is the platform that a child launches from. You can’t test for that. You can’t measure church’s value either.
Truth is that you appreciate what you do not have anymore. When my husband died and W was age 4, because I always analyze, I asked what does family mean, and what does family do. What are the functions and purpose?
Understanding Being Human:
A confident child’s formative foundation is family-centered memories. I can say this with near 100% certainty, personally and scientifically. My son W’s early problems (allergies, health, and language), meant that for many years, we couldn’t join extended family events.The two of us were not alone in the house. People were in our lives, and we thought some of them would be forever. But it is still the two of us. We are the family.
Continuing what my husband and I had done for the first 4 years of our son’s life, we went places to “make memories.” We cooked and ate lots of foods (hypo-allergenically), drives in the country, and took lots and lots of long walks. I said “I love you,” a lot. (W’s a teenager now, so he’s less interested!)
Being Human, taking trips and tripping-up:
My #epicfails could fill113 blogposts. Some are still too awful; there’s oversharing. My first share: I almost lost W on the street in 4 different cities. (I count Brooklyn separately). Police were only called twice. The mistakes don’t matter now as much as the positives – we’d made a memory together. We laughed about the missing person events later. (TG!)
The warm fun with family from early in life endures. They’re what a child feels in his adult bones decades later. You can make negative memories, or happy ones. Homework is not fun, which is why it’s called “home-work”. Some kids enjoy church, but they’ll enjoy it a lot more as adults. Sports are often competitive, or stressful, or painful. What is fun for families together? How about walking, fishing, cooking, playing catch, barbecuing, sharing sights, appreciating nature…
What Memories Did You Make? Share them. I would love to hear yours.