Why You Need to be Intentional about Memories with Your Kids
- Jason Soroski Contributing Writer
- 2016 20 May
Throughout the course of our lives we invariably attach ourselves to “place,” the landmarks that stand as markers to a different time, reminders of who we are and where we came from. As I travel with my family to the places where I used to live, it is a given that I will point out every landmark where any event I perceive as being meaningful occurred. Even more than that, I have a tendency to point out every place that “used to be a field.”
“Wow! See that strip mall? That used to be a field!”
“See that subdivision? That used to be a field!’
“I can’t believe there is a high school over there - it used to be a field!”
"That golf course over there used to be a...well it's still a field but it used to be an actual field!"
“It used to be a field” has become a punchline in our home.
The truth is that there is something buried at the core of us that longs to express the way things used to be, the way we experienced life in the past so that others who weren’t there may have a chance to see what we saw and feel what we felt. It’s a way of connecting and it is the driving force of nostalgia. From the music we listened to, the cars we drove, the phones that were attached to the wall and the box TVs that had a UHF knob, there is a felt need to express who we once were and who that makes us now.
I grew up in North St. Louis County, an area now often associated with the 2014 unrest in Ferguson. Time has been uneven to this corner of the world; large swaths of the area are in decline, spotted with urban blight, and much is generally unrecognizable from the streets I remember from “back in the day.” Malls, theaters, local hangouts and the places I once knew are all but gone.
Except for Bigfoot.
Bigfoot was the original monster truck that started the whole monster truck craze, and it was built when I was a kid, just a few minutes from where I grew up. As landmarks disappeared and things changed and evolved over the years, the “Bigfoot World headquarters” was a constant.
A few years ago I was having one of those reminiscing moments, telling my kids stories about all the things that were no longer in the old neighborhood. I finally decided that there was really nothing left there that I remember anymore, except for Bigfoot. Of course, my family being the family we are, this story started a litany of “except for Bigfoot” jokes.
“Did we get everything packed for the trip?"
"Yep, we got everything, Dad. Except for Bigfoot.”
Eventually on a trip back home I took my family to witness that Colossus of my childhood, and headed to the landmark that is Bigfoot. They really had no interest whatsoever in monster trucks and they were merely indulging my silliness, but it gave us a new experience to laugh about.
So when I read recently that even Bigfoot is heading out of North County, it struck a chord. It reminded me that everything changes in this life. Nothing stays as it is; the world is fluid and untamable; the grass withers and the flower fades (Isaiah 40:8).
There is joy in reminiscing in places and things, but life is only now, and the landmarks that hold lasting meaning and significance are not the houses we lived in or the things we remember, but those that are established in the hearts of the people we care for.
The memories we share, and the character we build and nourish in those who come after us are the things that will last and make an impression on future generations. So as we continue to build memories, visit landmarks and share experiences, I remember that it is not the things themselves that hold value, but those with whom I share them.
I am reminded especially of Psalm 145:4: “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
Anyone who's been around a few decades can testify that things around us are constantly changing. But we can find certainty in that we serve and worship a God who is unchanging. He will never leave, He will never change. He is who He is and His promises to us are everlasting.
So as I continue to plant memories in the hearts of my children, I will strive even more to plant the truth of God, because ultimately, that is what will be a constant throughout their lives, and the only thing that will serve as a lamp to guide them (Psalm 119:105). Because the truth is that they are also changing - they also are growing older and moving out into the lives that God has prepared for them. And it happens quickly.
So with unchanging faith in an unchanging God, we will continue to enjoy the sights there are to see in this changing world while they are still there to be seen, and enjoy the old and the new as we live out this life. And whenever I can I will most certainly take them to visit my old stomping grounds and experience all the places and memories I grew up with.
Except for Bigfoot.
Publication date: May 20, 2016