How can I build memories with my children?

Barbara: One of my favorite family memories is of a day from our vacation in California. We had rented a condominium that we shared with another family. It was a really fun day because we were able to be leisurely all day.

We went out on the beach in the morning, propped up the umbrella and put the babies under it so they wouldn’t burn. The older kids played on the beach, building sand castles and hunting for shells. It was a wonderful day because we got to enjoy our relationships with each other without any deadlines or demands.

Dennis: Vacations are great memory makers because they are a time for us to get away and recharge our batteries. They are a time for us to concentrate on one another, regardless of where we are. The romance of a marriage relationship is built by romantic getaways, but the romance of a relationship with your child is the rich heritage of memories that you build with them.

One thing my parents did right was instilling in me a lot of memories: making ice cream at Grandma’s house, fishing trips, relatives, parties. We didn’t go all over the United States on fancy trips, but they did leave me with an enormous reservoir of memories that I still draw on as a married man and father today.

You need to decide that your family is going to be found guilty of having too much fun, rather than too little, and you need to carve time out of your schedule for that to happen. You have to purposefully sacrifice your time, because if you think memories are going to be built by default, you’re fooling yourself. These memories are more than just fun; through building memories, you are building strongholds for Christ in your child’s life.

I think the most important way to build memories, after spending time with your kids, is to practice the lost art of storytelling. Begin by telling the kids how you met as a couple. Build a sense of connectedness to the past, because the lessons of life are found in our past right and wrong choices.

Barbara: I kept a family scrapbook, and every New Year’s Day while we cooked our dinner over a campfire, the whole family would gather around the scrapbook and relive the year together.

Dennis: It’s no mistake that God gave us the gift of memory. Over and over again in the Bible, He challenges the nation of Israel to call to mind His benefits, to remember His abundant kindness. God wants us to remember those things, because He is found in our lives at so many points. As we relive memories through storytelling, faith and maturity are built for today.

Lastly, some of my most important memories are tied to family traditions. Make an effort to establish some significant practices that you repeat year after year. Those repetitive events build stability and a sense of continuity in your child’s life.

Vacations, stories, and traditions will come together to form a museum of memories in your child’s life that will serve as a solid foundation for him as he begins his own family.

Copyright © 2008 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.