Defining Moments

When I think back over my childhood, there are certain moments, conversations and events which stand out in my memory. Usually they were nothing special at the time – just a passing comment or a one-off situation – but as I grew older they stayed with me. And now, when I contemplate them, I see that each one has played a part in who I am now.

It occurs to me that the people who said and did those things in my childhood had no idea they were forming such a big part of my character. I’m sure they didn’t know that their words would stay with me for the rest of my life. In all likeliness, they don’t remember the situation themselves now. But I do – clear as day. I can hear the words and recall the feelings from years ago.

If that is the case with me, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, then it is also probably going to be the case for my children. And for your children. Every moment we spend with them, every word we speak, might be the one to stay with them forever. We have no idea if it will be the careless cross word we threw out in frustration; the tender hug and kiss after a disciplinary issue has been resolved; the word of spiritual encouragement and inspiration.

How careful we must be. If the memories I want my children to live with are ones of love and joy, then I must intentionally create many opportunities to foster those experiences. Some of the memories that stay with me are positive – I remember one particularly encouraging comment made to me, that I still strive to live up to today. Some, however, are negative. There is one memory that still hurts to recall, as the unfairness is as clear to me now as it was when I was a child.

The defining moments in our children’s lives could come at any time. Are you and I armed and prepared with positive experiences for our children? We are not perfect, and we cannot guarantee that our children won’t have any unhappy memories. But if we can increase the odds. Let us stay¬†aware of the influence each moment can have in the lives of our children, and strive to make as many of them as good as possible.

 

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