What’s your earliest memory with your family? I remember a fall sometime before my third birthday which required stitches and the subsequent ride to the hospital on my mom’s lap (she was not driving) and getting pulled over on the way for speeding only to be offered a police escort to the hospital. Do I remember it because of the “trauma” or because of the love and care of my parents? Probably both. Sometimes our memories work in a funny way—we remember the things we wish to forget and forget the things we wish to remember. The funny nature of our memories helps us all know that we can’t always control what will be remembered by our families. What we can control though is the opportunities for making memories and how our memory making can intersect with pointing each other to Jesus. Here are some ways you can create memory-making opportunities with your family:
- Create rituals/traditions around holidays or recurring events.
How you make a birthday special and celebrate the birthday boy/girl might be an opportunity for memory-making. Maybe you let them choose the menu for dinner. Maybe you always write them a personal card about the year that’s passed and how you’ve seen God at work in that individual. Maybe you take them to do an activity of their choice. Maybe you offer a blessing over them and the year ahead. Maybe you speak truth to them about what you like about how God has made them to be. Maybe you sing “God’s blessings to you” at the end of the “Happy Birthday” song.
At Christmas how your family goes about opening the gifts or at Easter how you always fill the eggs with the same candy. Maybe you read the Christmas or Easter account from the Word of God at the same time as a family each year. Maybe you try to see how many translations or versions of the resurrection Easter story you can find in your book collection and from the library. Maybe one of the gifts given is an age-appropriate faith resource.
Daily practices of studying the Word of God at dinner or spending time in prayer together before bed. The rituals and traditions we create don’t have to be big or expensive to make memories. And even if you’ve never done it before, that doesn’t make it too late to start something new.
- Plan adventures and activities.
Make a list of all the things you’d like to do together with your family—ice cream shops, trips, baking cookies, watching a movie, bike rides in certain spots, the zoo, reading favorite books, hiking every park in the area—whatever. Get a couple of them on the calendar. Sometimes making a plan and setting aside the time is necessary to make it happen. Where there is time spent together around and activity there is much potential for memories to be made.
- Allow for spontaneity.
Plans can go a long way in making memories. But sometimes the best memories are made when we have no plan at all. When we’re having fun doing something or get an idea on a whim and just sort of go with it. Be flexible enough to say yes to spontaneity from time to time.
Whenever you spend time together as a family recap your time together by sharing highs and lows of the time. Reminisce together to last week and last year. Recount the blessings God has given you to have the memories together that you’ve been able to make.
How does your family make memories? Comment below and tell us about your experiences and ideas.