Invest In Creating Good Memories For Your Children
I often ask this funny question to my classes during lecture, what can you take to your deathbed? When we die, of course we all do one day, what would you take beyond this life? Car, house, money, some materials? The only thing that we can take with us beyond to our life is truly “the stories of love, the love we received and the love we given.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian, is a great historic figure that lived out a life of creating the stories of sharing love. He opposed to the violent regime of Hitler, of whom the majority of the German churches were supportive. Hitler, also supported by Dr. Brunner, the most acclaimed German theologian at the time, developed the “Natural Theology” and claimed to have the messianic attributes to himself, thus justifying the waging of the 2nd World War. However, Bonhoeffer objected to the Nazi, was imprisoned, and went through so much torture and suffering, ultimately to be executed at his mid 30s.
However, during such suffering, his famous prison epistles are full of joyful and grateful confessions of faith. He lived a life, just as he taught, of overcoming the natural desire, which was to give thanks in suffering, to bless under persecution, and to rejoice despite torture.
How was he able to overcome such sufferings and torture under this excessive persecution? He answers in one of his prison epistles, saying “Whenever I encountered suffering, I was able to overcome it by recalling those beautiful memories of my youth.” The beautiful memories in the past, in which God led his life with grace, became the very strength for him to overcome the painful sufferings with.
As we are heading to summer vacation time, what I realize once more is that enjoying good cultural experiences with family becomes the strength to overcome the problems of our life. For the children, the memory of enjoying and sharing quality time with their parents will become strong assets to create the strength to overcome the hardship and obstacles that may happen during children-growing. During those moments, all the great memories, such as the hiking trails in the parks where they walk with their mother; the sports games they go to watch with their father; or the family worships that they had together will be powerful collection of memory that shine as time goes by. However, it will be difficult to invest more time in these experiences when children grow older. Therefore it is important to let the kids enjoy more activities such as music or sports when they are younger.
The Bible teaches us that when we go through the suffering we should remember the joyous moments when God delivered us (Ps 40:2; 1 Chr 16:12).
The more a person experiences God’s grace of deliverance, the easier for the person to overcome the problems of life. However, if a person lacks those beautiful memories of God’s grace and only has the bitter memory of pain in his or her life, because of such painful memories, it is easier to fail before the difficulties of life when he or she grows older. “If you plant an acorn, don’t expect a cherry to grow from it.” Growing out of suffering creates bad memories.
Life has seasons. Each season collects unique memories and creates unique experiences. The end of the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 6 “Pastorale” is filled with the sounds of the nature such as the birds chirping and the water streaming. However, when Beethoven composed the symphony, he was already deaf. He no longer could listen to the sound of nature, but re-created the sound of water and birds solely based on the memory of the past. And it sounds through his symphony “Pastorale.”
A person is the fruit of character, a character is the fruit of culture, and a culture is expression of time and space. Experiencing good culture together creates good memory and good self-esteem. This vacation time is great opportunity to invest to quality-time of family.
Before the winter of life hit us, create good memories for your children. Regardless of big or small event, create good experience as many as you can. Especially, spiritual events that strengthen faith of God will be the best investment for your children. This will help to overcome life’s problems as they grow up. May you be able to create more great memories in this spring.