Intentional Memory Making

I love this quote by Edith Schaeffer. What a beautiful idea that family is a museum for all our precious memories.

We’re all about memory keeping. Isn’t that why we are all here? The Daily Digi exists because there is a group of women (and a few men!) who want to preserve our memories for family and friends. We want to take today’s activity and make it tomorrow’s memory!

There are many memories which can’t be planned. The silly quotes of a three-year-old, the tears after seeing your newborn child, the joy (and frustration) of a new puppy, a special night out with friends who make you feel loved. Our lives will be filled with many moments that, while unexpected, demand to be remembered. Part of the fun of the memory is in the surprise itself.

However,

“Memories don’t need to be be just a thing of chance collection, but can have some measure of planning.” — Edith Schaeffer

As a mom, I know that I can highly influence the memories that my family makes. I (along with my husband) decide how to spend our money, what experiences we want to have, and what sights and sounds we want our children to be surrounded by. Life (and the memories it creates) can’t all be planned, but there is definitely room for intentionally deciding on what things we want to fill our museum of memories with.

For our family, one of the memories we have decided to create is taking family walks. I wanted something specific that our kids could look back on and say, “We always did that.” Now, there are other things that could fill in the blank “We always did _________,” but rather than let life choose the answer, I wanted to choose it. And I chose walks.

Taking walks as a family incorporates many of our family values: time together, being outdoors, being physically active, exploring creation, enjoying the seasons, teaching patience and perseverance, being frugal, appreciating the culture we live in, and many more. When we set out on a family walk, I know that we are teaching important life lessons as well as creating special memories.

Obviously, taking family walks is just one way of intentionally creating memories. There are so many more. I know families who regularly have people over for dinner. I know families that go camping every summer. I know families that read aloud together every night before bed. I know families who turn up the music and do dishes together. I know families that serve at soup kitchens every Thanksgiving. I know families that run in local races together. It isn’t so much the activity itself that matters, but rather, it is the choice to intentionally make something a part of your lives and a part of your memories.

As our family memory keepers, doesn’t it make sense that we as scrappers also serve as memory makers? What kinds of experiences can we intentionally create? What kinds of traditions can we start in our homes? What activities or experiences do we want our kids to remember? I know that if I am not careful, my children’s memories will be filled with mom sitting at the computer!

To get you thinking about intentionally creating memories in your home, ask yourself these questions:

  • What traditions do we already have? What do we like/not like about them?
  • Are there traditions we would like to start?
  • What kinds of memories do we want our kids to have (be more specific than just “happy.”)
  • What are our happiest memories so far?
  • Imagine being old and grey and rocking with your hubby on your front porch. What kinds of stories do you want to be able to tell?
  • If you asked your kids, “What is something we like to do as a family?” what would they say? What do you want them to say?
  • What family values are communicated through the activities, memories, and traditions you have?

If you want to start a new tradition, activity, or experience, keep these tips in mind:

  • Know why you are choosing it and what values it communicates.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that creating lasting memories means spending lots of money. There are many inexpensive or free memories to be had!
  • Choose activities that everyone will enjoy (or will grow to enjoy). Usually, if mom and dad genuinely enjoy an activity, their children will learn to enjoy it as well. Don’t choose something that you don’t like to do or you will never want to do it!
  • Be mindful of the different ages and abilities in your family and make accommodations for those who need it (for example, we have a baby carrier and a hiking backpack so our youngest ones can go on walks without getting too tired.)
  • Look for activities that allow you to interact as a family (not just stare at a screen).

So, what kinds of memories can you intentionally create for your family? Remember, today’s experiences are tomorrow’s scrapbook pages!