Focus on Fun, Not Memories

Jonathon Edwards is quoted as saying: “The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind in the time of it, and not by the effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered.” In less fancy words, the real value of a sermon is not measured by how much information you remember the next day, but in some more mystical way by how stirred you were as you listened. Or, reading a book can be worthwhile even if you can’t recall any quotes a week after putting it aside.

I think this same concept can be applied to parenting. An implicit priority in many families is to ‘create memories’ by doing cool stuff. This is well and good, but sometimes I wonder if it can turn into a subtle disdain for everyday fun things, like playing on the swings or having a race in the backyard. While still being good, these things can somehow become less valuable than the more memorable camping trips or big celebrations.

The reality is, most of the fun stuff you do with your kids won’t be remembered a few weeks, months, or years after they’ve gone to bed that night. I think it’s comforting to realise that the value of those experiences isn’t contained in how long the memory lingers, but simply in how hard you laughed at the time.

3 Thoughts.

  1. Great thoughts Marcus. We both struggle to remember much of our childhood and I think this blog post shows it was not because of boredom or unhappiness in our family but in fact the opposite. I’m so thankful for the laughs and good times I know I had with my family growing up

  2. Well said Marcus. It’s true, thinking back it is impossible to recall each of your childhood highlights. Speaking of the value of these experiences tho… I wonder, is there any significance to the vivid memories we never forget?

    • Yeah good question, I actually struggled a bit with that when writing this because I didn’t want to somehow diminish those experiences you do remember vividly. I think you’ll naturally remember those experiences you enjoy the most, the difference is that the memory is a by-product rather than something you set out to attain.

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