Does anyone write in a family Bible anymore? How we capture the memories we make varies from family to family, but when life becomes hectic and complicated, it’s easy to let potential memories slip into oblivion. Some use scrap booking to avoid this. Others journal. We store keepsakes to pass along later. Photographs and video records are common. We have a myriad of options. The trick is often to do more than have good intentions.
I believe that parents are the guardians not only of their children, but of their children’s memories. When those memories are unpleasant, even tragic, we must find ways to bring our children to a Heavenly Father whose great love surpasses human understanding, and whose omniscience and wisdom can reshape negative memories and give them back to children so that they may be healed.
A final thought: many men and women who become career, cross-cultural emissaries of the Heavenly King (commonly called missionaries) were propelled into adulthood by vivid family memories.
Table talk, information gathering, and intercession became the three-strand memory cord that joined their hearts to the heart of God. Those of us who go, whether a short or long distance, to carry Good News to people who need it most, do so because our motivation has been forged in the furnace of our memories. Here are a few practical strategies:
- We can consider recording the talk around the table sometime when our family eats together. If we do it unobtrusively, and then listen to it, we may decide that some things need to change and we can start working on these. Regular listening to judgmental, negative conversation does not build compassionate character in children. Perhaps listening to ourselves talk will lead us to deal with gossip and meanness, being very careful to set a good example in this area. We may decide that we need to work on practices that enable everyone to have a fair share of time and attention. Here’s a great idea: Invite visitors to join you for meals and teach your kids how to politely ask questions and listen to responses.
- We can find interesting ways for kids to search for information and bring it back to the family. Starting with topics of special interest, we can subtly (if possible) insert topics that they may have overlooked. We can use this means to get them investigating global events and issues.
- We can make corporate prayer a family staple. It’s a lot more than saying “grace” before a meal. Consider the possibility that “the family that prays together, stays together.” Let’s make prayer for others a frequent part of our conversations with God. We may be surprised at how far reaching intercession becomes.
What memories did you make or see unfold in your family this past week? May many of them accumulate in a rich memory bank to assure them of a Heavenly Father Who resources their everyday lives and draws them close to His heart for them and for the world. Be blessed! For God “remembers His covenant forever…” I Chronicles 16:15.
Nancy Tichy, KidZ At Heart International author