My brother was playing with my children when he paused and turned to me. “Isn’t it weird to think,” he said, “that I’ve spent all this time playing with them and they won’t remember it? Yet this is helping mold their lives!”
It really is amazing.
The experiences, rhythms, words, and atmosphere that surround infants and small children play a foundational role in later development.
Habits are formed. Conclusions about the world are unconsciously drawn. A worldview is created.
Yet most of these moments of laughter and tears will be forgotten.
The other night, Rose rolled out of her bed and woke up with night terrors. I tucked her back in bed and stroked her arm. She finally went back to sleep and I headed to bed and was soon fast asleep myself. She woke up with night terrors again. Josh tried to quiet her down so I could sleep, but she was inconsolable. Finally, he got her up and they had a midnight snack together: burnt toast (the more burnt the better, for my little gal) with butter and honey. She calmed down and went back to bed. [We later learned night terrors are often caused by a calcium deficiency.]
Morning came and she couldn’t remember a thing. She didn’t remember I’d put her back in bed or that she’d had a midnight snack with Joshua.
Chances are, your children will not remember anything that you’ve done today. They’ll forget the stories you read together this morning. They’ll forget playing outside this afternoon. They’ll forget the many hours spent teaching them to shape bread or dry dishes.
How many memories do you have of your childhood? I have about a dozen distinct images of my very early childhood.
Out of all the countless hours my parents spent with me my first few years, a few dozen memories?
But the years sacrificially poured into raising and nurturing those little ones aren’t in vain!
photo by Your Pic Photography
Infants won’t remember the hours spent just holding them and gazing into their eyes. Toddlers won’t remember the many times you get up with them in the night. They will remember being loved.
They are learning about their world. Learning about faith and trust and patience and love and how to control their anger. Learning about God.
We have been given a great and glorious task: creating a worldview that reflects God’s truth.
It’s daunting. We will fail miserably. We can’t succeed in the end without God’s help. But with His grace we are called to create a world for our child. A world shaped by forgotten moments.
Originally published December 2011