A compilation on creating lasting memories with your children
I can’t forget a particularly dreary, rainy Saturday several years ago. The kids had not been able to go outside all day, and they were definitely starting to get on each other’s nerves. I had sidetracked them, separated them, and even secluded them in attempts to maintain some modicum of peace and tranquility. By the time dinner rolled around, everyone was in a lousy mood. The griping and complaining didn’t stop when they came to the table. I turned the radio on and tuned it to an oldies station, trying to liven the mood a little, but even that didn’t seem to help.
Then one of the kids had the audacity to make a very disparaging comment about my cooking abilities. The gist of it had to do with the fact that if they had to go to school to learn to read and write, perhaps I should have to go to school to learn to cook. I don’t recall who said it, but I do remember that things grew very tense as everyone waited for my response.
For the first few seconds, I was hurt. Then … I started to laugh.
“Well, you’re right. I might not be able to cook, but I sure can dance,” I exclaimed, and started jiving to the rock-and-roll song that had just come on the radio. (I am a notoriously lousy dancer!) Soon four little boys were twisting all over the kitchen floor and up on their chairs. Everyone cracked up and we boogied together until the song was over. I promised everyone ice cream if they ate all their broccoli—and my husband promised to do the dishes if I stopped dancing. Somehow the complaints vanished, and we finished our meal. Every last morsel.
Joy is something we can learn. It is a decision we can make deep inside our souls—a decision to look at the positive side. The bright side. The crazy side of a situation rather than dwell on the darkness.
I want my children’s memories to verify without a shadow of a doubt that I had a fun time raising them. I want them to recall with joy all the times I made them smile and all the traditions, games, and memories that we shared together.
—Gwendolyn Mitchell Diaz
My good intentions to have tea time alone with my [older] daughters were thwarted [on] the first day. Apparently one of the little children had gotten wind of the plans for a tea party. Of course, they were sure they would be invited for tea. Our tea for three ended up being tea for the whole tribe. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but the tea party turned out to be one of those special moments for all of us. Briana showed us how mannerly she could be when she said in her sweetest voice ever, “This tea is delightful. May I please have some more?”
Even the boys got in on the act. (They never want to be left out of anything.) There they sat, six little children around the table drinking tea with their pinkies extended.
Memories are different than traditions. Although both can be intertwined, traditions are carried on, but memories are carried within. Someday when my children are watching their own children have tea time, I wonder if they will get a far-off look in their eyes as they drift back to memories of pinkies and raspberry leaf tea? Will smiles creep across their faces, as if they have a special secret? That is really what memories are … special secrets.
Will they remember the Christmas Mom spent hundreds of dollars on gifts? Or will they only remember the day after Christmas when she made snow angels with them?
Will they remember a kitchen full of dirty dishes? Or will they think of all those meals with homemade whole wheat bread every time they smell fresh bread?
Will they remember that they had ground beef every Tuesday? Or will they remember the day every meal was blue? I still remember when my mom made green mashed potatoes, and I must have only been two or three.
There’s a special relationship between a dad and a daughter, something God designed on purpose, I think. It’s not lost on me that of all of the names God could have asked us to call Him, we most often refer to Him as “Father.” I think that’s because He has the same kind of relationship in mind for us that I had in mind for my kids. I think a father’s job, when it’s done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children’s lives, and whisper, “Where do you want to go?”
Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.”
Success as a parent comes through doing your best, giving your all, pouring into your children, and trusting Me for the outcome.
The wisdom you have imparted never goes to waste. It doesn’t go down the drain. It doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t ever come to naught.
Some things in life are never wasted—things like love, My Word, spiritual input, spiritual training, time spent reaching out to others, and especially time spent pouring into children.
By pouring into your children, you’re giving your children things that will never grow old, things that will never fade away—living gifts that will always be a part of their lives, even if they lie dormant for a time. The gifts you give of love, time, training, and truth are permanent parts of your children’s lives that they will never lose.
—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
There are going to be times in the day-to-day routine of parenting when you feel overwhelmed by situations and circumstances. The baby’s crying, your eight-year-old won’t do her homework, your teenager’s stereo is shaking the house, your toddler didn’t make it to the potty in time—and your dinner guests will be here any minute! You feel pushed to the brink.
Every parent faces days like this. You’re not alone. And you’re not alone in a greater sense: Jesus is right there with you. He understands, and He waits with encouragement and solutions. If you have the opportunity, talking with someone else—maybe your spouse or a friend—can help you see things differently, calm your spirit, and give you a chance to pray together for the Lord’s help. You can even ask your children to pray with you. Their faith and simple prayers, even of your youngest, can be a wonderful encouragement.
Whatever you do, don’t give up! Don’t give in to feelings of frustration and discouragement. Shoot up a prayer and ask Jesus to give you power for the hour and grace for the space—and He will. Ask Him to help you see your children as He sees them, to see what they are going to become. He will help you view the situation optimistically and with hope. The outlook may be bleak, but the “uplook” (looking up to Jesus) is always bright.
Because children are a reflection of their parents, it’s very easy to get discouraged and feel that you have failed when one or more of your children isn’t doing well in some area. But remember they’re also God’s children, and they are a work in progress—just like you are. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13 NKJV)
All He expects is that you try your best, give them your love, and leave the rest up to Him. Now that doesn’t mean you should just throw up your hands in despair, let “God take care of it,” and quit when the going gets rough. He probably intends for you to be part of His solution. You need to find out from Him what He wants you to do—and do it; then put the rest in His hands and let Him do what you can’t do.
—Derek and Michelle Brookes
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