What kind of memories are you creating with your kids? It’s easy to fall into our ruts of day-to-day activities and busyness. Because of our ever-increasing levels of chaos, we can fail to recognize that each day contains an opportunity to do something memorable with our teenagers, even if it’s on a small scale.
Obviously, there are big, memorable moments, like when your son intercepts the soccer ball at the goal with two seconds left on the clock, and they win by one point. Or when your daughter learns that she has been awarded a full tuition scholarship to college. These are great memories.
But what about some of the smaller stuff?
I sometimes wonder, “What are they going to remember about me?”
I decided to make a list of things I want them to remember. Their perspective of each of these events, moments, and situations would clearly be different from mine, but I hope they have racked up some good times and fond memories of their transition from childhood to teen years, and beyond.
Here are 22 things I want my kids to remember about their time growing up:
- Mom was patient and loving with us even when she could have lost it. Okay, sometimes she lost it, but at least it passed quickly.
- Mom and Dad were always interested in anything we had to say.
- Mom and Dad were very much in love with each other, and it showed. They always pulled together.
- Mom was always our biggest fan (fan is short for fanatic) in the stands or in the audience. We could see or hear her cheering for us.
- Mom always took TONS of pictures. She never let any “Kodak moments” go to waste.
- Mom and Dad corrected us when we were wrong, but then they let it go and didn’t hold it over our heads after it was over. We experienced forgiveness and second chances from our parents.
- Mom and Dad paid fairly for chores and jobs that were done well, but no allowance. We had to work for and earn our payment.
- Vacations were a fun, special time for our family to enjoy together.
- At the beach, Dad taught us how to dig huge holes in the sand and go boogie boarding in the waves.
- Mom and Dad took us to Hawaii. We went snorkeling in Kona, and swam with sea turtles.
- Mom taught us how to cook and prepare our own food.
- Dad was a good driving teacher, and showed us how to cut donuts in the snow in an empty parking lot.
- We had a lot of fun learning when Mom homeschooled us.
- We laughed easily and frequently in our home.
- Mom and Dad always got our humor and laughed at our jokes.
- Our parents avoided labeling us. They respected our individuality and our opinions.
- Our parents were easy to talk to about anything we wanted to discuss. They didn’t freak out about things.
- Our home was a haven, a safe place we could count on to have peace (most of the time), good food, and an environment free of fussing, fighting, and constant conflict. (This takes a lot of effort and intention. See Creating a Haven of Peace – a Conversation with Joanne F. Miller.)
- Our parents treated us as fairly and equally as they could. There were no singled out favorites. We were all favorites.
- Mom and Dad gave pretty good advice, even though sometimes we didn’t necessarily ask for it.
- Our parents prayed earnestly for us. They taught us about God’s love for us.
- Mom and Dad loved us more than anything else in the whole world.
These are just some of the things I want them to remember. Whether or not they will is another story. I’m certain we’ve missed the mark once in a while.
There are going to be some negative memories in the mix. I could likely name a few of those, as well. But we choose not to dwell on those. We’ve learned to emphasize and multiply the positive aspects of our lives. When we do that, it makes the negative stuff a little easier to manage.
Like I stated earlier, my kids’ perspective is clearly different from mine. But the point is to make the best effort possible to create those awesome memories with your teens. You don’t know what they will carry with them, but at least you can give it your very best shot.
What will your legacy be? Leave a comment below and tell me what you do to create wonderful memories with your teens. I would love to hear your stories.