Creating Great Family Memories
by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families
When I look back on my own childhood, some wonderful memories come to mind. I come from New Zealand, a country surrounded by sea. I have great recollections of summers at the beach, of playing in the sand, getting sunburned to a frazzle, and swimming. Although I come from a broken home, I still have great memories of the people who came into my life and shared their love and leadership with me.
What is it that tips the balance towards good or negative memories in our childhood? One thing I am eternally grateful for is that although my Dad could have done so, he never made one negative remark about my mother who left the family when I was 14 months old. He had every opportunity to do so, but he shielded my brother and me from his grief, which allowed our childhood memories to be happy ones. The mind is a wonderful thing when it comes to forgetting certain events. Mothers tend to forget their labors between pregnancies, until the very first pain of the next labor. Then they think, "Oh, no! Whose bright idea was it to have another baby?" Why do they forget this negative experience? Because the long lasting reward far outweighs the short period of discomfort that preceded it.
When you look back on your own childhood experience, what comes to your mind? Do you immediately think of happy times such as family vacations, laughter, adventures, and achievements? Or do you only recall sadness, regret, and negative family experiences? What do you think your parents could have done to make your memories more positive?
Now you are parents and you have the responsibility of creating happy memories for your kids. Here are some suggestions. Involve yourself in your kids' lives. Find out what they are interested in and encourage them to follow their dreams (not yours). Encourage excellence without creating so much pressure that the activity becomes a drag. Let your kids within reason choose the fun or vacation activities. Make sure that within your weekly plan, you set aside special time with each child. "What family plan?" I hear some of you say. Well, that is another thing that will help your family achieve more. Instead of lurching from one circumstance to the next, claim the time and make schedules. This will teach your kids to be planners and be goal orientated.
Make sure you and your kids have plenty of positive friends. Check the atmosphere in your home and insist on positive communication. Encourage your kids to read. Knowledge is a powerful and stimulating tool. Let your kids play in the dirt. There is nothing like a good old mud or water fight. Praise one another. We humans always respond positively to encouragement. Show your kids how to keep a journal of vacations and everyday experiences. Take plenty of pictures. These are great ways to record memories.
Life is short. We don't get to practice. This is it. We can choose to create great memories for ourselves, and our kids. Let's do what Nike says, "Just do it!"
If you have any comments or questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to also check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org and our blog site at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com for further assistance.