Moments And Memories
We are knee-deep in summer here in North Carolina. Lazy days, sun and water activities, and time together with family and friends fill our days. We are engaged in moments that create memories. An ad-
vertisement recommends “Spend More Moments in the Moment.” What a wonderful message. Too often we are so busy going, doing, and acquiring that we fail to be present in the moment. Summer allows us to slow down and enjoy those moments that create memories. But all moments are not the same, even when they create memories.
It is not uncommon to see families and friends at a restaurant, all on their phones, totally unconnected with those present. When seeing this, I am curious about how could whatever is on the phone be more important than those with whom one is sharing a meal? This is not spending the right kind of moments in the moment. Quite the opposite, rather. It’s time to put technology in its place. It should be used for work and occasional relaxation, not to entertain us when we should be present with others. While we wouldn’t think to carry a board game into a restaurant for entertainment, our devices are small enough to accompany us almost everywhere we go. This is creating the wrong kind of moments in the moment. These are not the memories that we should savor. With most of summer still ahead of us, let’s make memories from the right kind of moments.
Most of us have boxes and bins of photos clogging our spaces. Many of those photos are of events and people that are so far removed from our present lives that we do not need to keep them – they were our past and can be discarded. Before doing so, however, commit some time to this, for there are surely some pictures in with those others that you do want to keep – perhaps some of your distant relatives. Create memorable moments with your children by involving them in this process, introducing them to those relatives, sharing stories about them, and bringing them to life for a short while. We should assure that the photos are labeled with all pertinent information, especially names, relationship, and dates. You can probably discard all negatives, for it is unlikely that those would ever be converted to photos, and discard duplicates – yes, even those duplicates of your children’s school photos – unless you plan to give those to different family members. Another option is to create a memory book with your children and grandchildren of their parents, themselves, and even some more distant relatives.
A few other points about photos. Yes, those can be scanned and maintained digitally, and they will require less space. Before spending the time and money to do so, however, consider whether the digital form will ever be viewed again, or just sit on a shelf. Recently, I found some printed pages of our daughter’s blog that she wrote years ago, which included photos of her two oldest children. I took those pages with me when I visited the grandchildren, and we relived memories and created new ones while going through those together. I don’t think the experience would have been as memorable in digital form.
Another idea is to create rituals with your family that are memorable moments that become traditions, such as something as simple as a regular weekly night of pizza and movie watching. For some, traditions like these are so sacred that they supersede any other activity. Summer, with no homework and fewer extracurricular activities clogging the calendar, is a good time to begin such a tradition. Also, if you already have such a tradition in place, do not allow the different schedule of the summer to change it, unless doing so is a conscious decision. Traditions can change, but if they just get set aside or lost in the shuffle of the different season, it does not take long before it loses its meaning, or goes by the wayside.
Summer of course is a wonderful time to play, but it shouldn’t be just about play. With more time available this time of year, create memorable moments by choosing to spend some of it with your children while volunteering to help those in need. If you establish a regular time for this, it will not just create memorable moments, but also a meaningful tradition. If the volunteer effort has a special meaning, it will become even more memorable. Volunteering with your children is two-fold – creating memorable moments while helping those in need.
There are many ways to create moments and memories this summer – whether it be as simple as savoring a tech-free meal or relishing a long-walk together on the beach at sunset. No matter the experience, the particular activity is less important than the commitment to be present with others, consciously and consistently turning precious moments into lifelong memories
Speaks, consults, and coaches, inspiring positive change in work, life, and family. She is founder and president of The Fralix Group, Inc., a leadership excellence firm based in Raleigh.