By Katie J. Trent, Crosswalk.com
Have you ever wondered why some moments embed in our brains and others won’t? And more importantly, do we have any control over which moments stick and which ones don’t? In the 18 years before our children reach adulthood, they will accumulate around nine million moments. Of course, they won’t remember most of them. And that’s a good thing.
The Making of a Moment
I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of moments I pray my kids won’t remember—those times when I’ve lost my temper or been a poor example. I’ve failed more times than I care to count, so I hope and pray they forget about all those awful experiences.
But we’ve had many great moments too. Moments where we’re making beautiful memories or where we’ve had a precious conversation about Jesus. Or those times when the kids have an ah-ha moment or learn something new—where we’ve laughed until we’ve cried or discovered something amazing together. Those are the times I want my children to remember. So, I’ve learned to be more intentional in creating moments that matter with my kids.
You Don’t Have to Be the Perfect Parent to Create a Perfect Moment
I’ve never considered myself a fun mom or a Pinterest mom. In fact, I’m more of a Pinterest drop-out. I don’t do all the things. I’m terrible about imaginative play with my kids or running around the playground with them. Nope, I’m not the cool mom either. I’m the mom that enjoys a good book and some shade on the sideline.
It used to bother me—all of those things that I’m not; All those ways I feel I fail or fall short as a parent. Maybe you have one of those lists too. Perhaps, like me, you wonder if you’re doing enough or being a good enough parent.
I can assure you—you are. You’re a good parent. You’re doing a great job. Your kids love and appreciate you, even if they don’t always show it.
The world, especially in this social media age, tries to convince us otherwise. It wants to tell us that we need more things, that we’ll be happier if we go on lavish vacations or buy all the stuff. But we don’t need a lot of money or even a lot of time in order to create more meaningful memories with our kids. And most importantly, we don’t need to be the perfect parent to create a perfect moment with our children.
How to Cultivate Meaningful Moments
We tend to remember things that shock or delight us. We also remember those traditions we came to depend on and look forward to year after year. So, how can you create more meaningful moments with your kids? Here are four tips to help you be more intentional:
1. Create a Meaningful Moments Bucket List
Take a few minutes right now to write out some of the memories you’d like to make with your children before they leave your house. Start with a top 10 list of things you’d like to do together before they graduate high school. Then, list 10-20 things you want to experience together this year. Finally, write out 10-20 ideas of special moments and traditions you’d like to make on a more consistent basis.
Think of things big and small. For example, here are a few of my top 10 before graduation:
-Go on at least one short-term mission trip to another country with my kids.
-Help them pursue a passion.
-Teach them how to start their own business.
-Cheer them on as they enjoy a sport or hobby.
-Watch them get baptized and lead in an area in their church and community.
When creating a yearly bucket list, I think of things more specific to their age and the season of life we’re in. What’s something I could do with them this year that I might not be able to do another year? What’s one thing they could do now that they couldn’t last year? Are there special field trips we could go on? Places we could explore? New hobbies we could learn together?
And when I’m thinking of traditions or special moments I want to cherish more consistently, I look at various activities we can do together. What do I want my kids to remember from their childhood? What do I hope they’ll do with their own kids someday? For example, I read aloud to them a lot. I want them to remember our snuggles in bed, reading great books together, and our praise parties where we blast the music and worship Jesus. Or all of the baking and trips to the park/beach/pool. I want them to remember that we always ate dinner together at the table, prayed together nightly, played board games each week, had family movie night regularly, prayed for people wherever we went, and sowed generously into the lives of others. What do you want your kids to remember?
2. Choose One Moment to Focus on Each Day
Every morning when I wake up, one of the first things I do is think about a special moment for the day. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. I simply choose one thing to focus on to show my kids how much I love them. It may be making a special breakfast, cuddling for a movie marathon, or getting on the floor and playing whatever they want for 15-30 minutes.
It doesn’t matter what it is—and it looks different daily. But I make sure to invest at least 10-20 minutes into making a special moment with my kids daily. I don’t beat myself up for my mistakes or all the ways I fell short because I know they aren’t going to remember everything. If I take the time to make one or two special moments that day, they’re more likely to remember those.
3. End Each Day with a Favorite Moment
This has become my kids’ favorite tradition. When I pray for them at the end of each night, I ask them what their favorite moment of the day was. And then I share my favorite moment as well. It gives me a chance to learn what’s important to them, allowing me to create more meaningful memories that matter to them. It also helps increase their likelihood of remembering that special moment because it’s the last thing they’re thinking about before falling asleep.
4. Capture Special Moments in a Keepsake
The final tip I have to help you create more meaningful moments with your kids is to make sure you’re doing something to capture them in a keepsake. Consider keeping a journal of favorite memories for them, creating a photo album with all those pictures you take on your phone, or making a memory box where you put special mementos, photos, etc., for them to reflect on as they grow. However you do it, be sure you’re helping them to remember all those beautiful moments you experienced together. You’ll both be glad you did!