Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Make Memories and Mark a Moment

My mom is guest posting today. I hope that you will read this! It has me super inspired!

Tabitha was telling me last Friday that she was at the store buying some gum and other things for a leprechaun hunt to celebrate St. Patty’s Day as a family. Toni tells me in church on Sunday evening that Reed had to go and get Anna’s offering for our new building because she was so excited about giving to our new WEC location. And it occurred to me that this post should be about the benefits of making memories with your children.

Good memories are important to me. They represent fun times. We always went to Lake Gaston in the summer. We always welcomed loads and loads of kids in our home. We had traditions like Christmas Eve parties with family and friends. Ray’s mom read to them every day. I played with them in the floor. We laughed a lot. Ray took them anywhere and everywhere. My memories are the special times we had together as a family.

Memories are powerful for marking a moment. Who gave you your first kiss? Where were you during 9/11? What exactly was that feeling that God gave you the moment after you gave birth? For the brain, it’s called encoding….It’s the stuff that stays in the brain without practice, association, mnemonics, and all the other things that help us remember. Adding to a child’s autobiographical story (with great memories) helps them to understand their world and make connections to new learning. It, simply stated, increases comprehension because it adds to their “data bank” of information in a quick and easy way. The best teachers that I’ve met are committed to “hands-on” learning, giving children opportunities to experience an idea….make a memory….mark a moment.

But, that’s not all. There is research that supports the concept that (Memory Lane and Morality: How Childhood Memories Promote Prosocial Behavior by Gino & Desai, 2011) adult behavior is actually strongly influenced by nostalgic memories. This research indicated that adults were more helpful and more giving to others. Who wouldn’t want that for their child?

Toni and Tabitha do not always remember the small details. It’s just like thinking back to 9/11 and realizing that even though we will never forget the event, some of the details are not encoded in our memory. Sometimes they remember details that I’ve forgotten but, in the end the, results are the same. They are selfless adults and I’m proud of how they “turned out.” I’m going to bet their childhood memories had something to do with that.

So, your challenge is to mark your calendar with at least one “purposeful” memory each month. Share what you are doing and anticipate great things as a result.

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