The Collective Good

Warren amazes me with how much he can remember. He can pull up events from months before and talk about the details. He recalls names of people he’s met only once, and can recollect places we’ve been to briefly. It’s not always perfect, but the gist is pretty impressive.

I was sitting at the table with him during lunch one day and had a sad thought come to mind. Despite his ability to remember so many things, the everyday details of his life thus far will eventually become only a blur at best. Everything that I do with him, day in and day out–all our little routines and activities, will only be a foggy memory. Think about it: how much do you remember from when you were four years old? I can recall 2 vivid memories, but the rest are just floating around in my past. It breaks my heart just a little knowing that he won’t remember how much we laughed at the silly faces he makes at the table every day, or how we read “A Light In The Attic” together on the couch at least once a week, or how he runs into our room every morning to announce that it’s 7AM with unbridled enthusiasm. Things that are a part of his everyday life, but he won’t remember in 20 years.

But then another thought occurred. He many not remember those details, per se, but he will remember the happy feelings that accompany them. They become, I believe, one big collective memory. I came across a quote that reminded me of my role in this process:

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. –Charles R. Swindoll

I guess it’s not so much the details, events, or activities that I need to focus on but how I’m helping my children feel each day. I want to know that I’m contributing to the collective good– that their memories of childhood conjure feelings of peace and happiness.

8 thoughts on “The Collective Good”

  1. And that’s what blogs and pictures and videos are for. So they don’t have to remember… they’ll just know.

    Shouldn’t you be packing or something else move-related??

  2. That was beautiful Jeanne, I want to cry! I was just thinking today (I was going through old files and throwing things out), how much of my life that I don’t think about and how so many things have shaped me that I no longer do (ie, volunteering for hospice, taking irish dance classes, etc) But they still are a part of me even if I don’t do them. There are times in our lives when those memories are sparked and you are exactly right- it’s the FEELINGS that come back. I love your explanation of it 🙂 Cute costumes below, by the way!

  3. I love this post. This concept is something I think about often and it’s a good reminder that what I do matters collectively.

  4. I think about the same thing sometimes. More morbidly perhaps. I think that if I died now, the twins would barely remember me, and Canon would have no recollection. I love the quote and the new perspective!
    The kids costumes were adorable! I hope we get to see the cute face behind the question mark soon 🙂 the question mark always makes me smile though

  5. I wanted you to know that post really touched me. I’m still wiping my eyes. I don’t know why that makes me so sad. I have been so worried that I won’t remember all the little things Ani does at this age. And now I am thinking about how she won’t remember any of it. But you are right – she will remember that her childhood was fun and happy. And it reminded me of something President Hinckley said about books – that he doesn’t remember the details of every book he has read, but he has internalized him and they have become a part of him, making him better. That always made me feel better about reading, like it isn’t a waste of time even when I can’t remember the plot two years later :). So I guess it is the same way. Even if we can’t remember the details, it helps us become who we are. And maybe when we are perfected we will remember all the details from when we were little. Who knows?

  6. I love what you said too, that they’ll add up.

    I also wanted to mention that this is why I document the little things in my kids lives. I want to remember & share the stories with my kids on down the road. You don’t have to “scrapbook” to document the important things or little things (even though I do do that). Blogging is a great way to capture those things. He’ll love going back & reading your blog when he’s older. I also keep a notebook of things my kids say/do. Their stories don’t have to be lost.

    Just want to say I love your blog. We miss you guys.

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