Let’s grow some memories

“A lifelong blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy memories become treasures of the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood.”

-Charlotte Kasl

Have you ever been faced with situations where you have a chance to make a difference or achieve a breakthrough in your own understanding of life, but when you ask friends for advice, they tell you to just “forget it?”

For me, these are usually those “stuck in the middle” situations. For example, I realize another parent is unethically trying to get their child promoted on a sports team and while it doesn’t affect MY child directly, it affects the spirit of the game and other children. Or I’m given a script that is filled with factual errors and am asked to record it ‘as is’ or lose the job.

The answer from well-intentioned friends?  “Forget it!”  “Who cares!” “Just do it!”

I’m being told “forget it” so many times, I am going into memory deficit!  I quite seriously told my husband the other day that I won’t have to worry about Alzheimer’s anymore, because I won’t have any memories to forget anyway!

But I get it.

Don’t dwell on what you can’t change; choose your battles; etc.  And these days life is moving so fast that one can hardly run fast enough to keep up, so why spend the time? Just forget it!

Yeah, I get it.

But while this may be true, I also think that by saying “forget it” we’re missing a valuable chance for personal interaction — a chance to grow a memory, regardless of the outcome of the situation we’re facing.

“Forget it!  Don’t get involved! It’s not worth it!” 

It occurred to me that when I’m told to ‘forget something’ that is truly bothering me, three things happen:  1)  I will remember a bad situation or circumstance even more, 2) I learn that my opinions and feelings are not worthy, and 3) I will remember that that person was uninterested in me.

Then I thought to myself: “Oh no!  Have I been saying this to my children?!”

I remember once when my daughter came home troubled.  She told me that she overheard one girlfriend talking about another girlfriend in a bad way.  These two girls were supposedly friends, but what my daughter overheard was definitely not nice.  She didn’t know what to do — should she get involved? Should she tell the girlfriend being talked about or confront the one who said it?  Could she still be friends with both?

How easy would it be to just say: “Forget it! Don’t be a tattle-tale! Let them figure it out themselves!”

But wow, what a golden opportunity to build up my child’s own personal growth and understanding, and leave her with a positive memory of how to solve a problem – a dilemma – in her own way.  (Plus, get more insight into her social life! 🙂 )

First, more info was required.  I was making dinner at the time, and asked for her help so we could talk more about it. I asked her to describe the situation. Anyone else hear it being said? Any background info you might not know about?

Now that she had a clearer picture, I asked her what she thought she should do, and what would be the result of her different actions.

Now this is usually enough for my strong-willed, off-the-charts intra-personally strong daughter, because she is the type to need more of a sounding board than someone to tell her what to do.

But if she’s still not sure, I’ll give some personal examples that I’ve gone through (because what situation haven’t we moms/dads faced?) and tell her what I’ve done and would do. More importantly, I know her well enough to tell her what I think she should do.  Then we talk some more over a delicious dinner (or sometimes not so delicious, since I’m not the best cook!).

And in the end, maybe the best decision is to ‘forget it’ — do nothing about the situation. But regardless, she has a warm memory that will live with her and hopefully grow stronger as she encounters future difficulties.

For me, that’s what the above quote is all about —  memories of being together and helping one another that we can pull out when we’re facing tough times.

Of course, there are other memories — the one-offs — the family vacations and fun times that we re-live and laugh and say ‘remember those crazy times??!!  And those are mega-important, too, of course.

But let’s not forget to grow some memories, too!