Dec 11, 2018
I have moments in conversations with my children that I think: “That was good! Where did that wisdom come from?” And in my mind, I’ve said something so perceptive, so wise, that my boys are sure to remember it and apply it.
That’s rarely the way it works. They remember some of the most ridiculous things I’ve said, and most of the time when they tell me something deep that I shared with them, I have no memory of the conversation.
When my mother came to visit our family recently, I took the opportunity to have this conversation with her: Do you remember telling me these wise things that I’ve written about in my blog? At the time you shared these words with me, did you think they would have life-long impact?
I loved this conversation, partly because it confirmed this generational commonality, that our children remember things we don’t remember. And more importantly, that they remember our actions, the values we demonstrated to them, with even more clarity.
Also in the conversation, we talked about the Jewish holiday called Purim, the cookies we make to celebrate that holiday, and the act of delivering a basket of those cookies and other treats anonymously to people.
Knowing that we think differently, and process information differently is critical to the health of our relationships, and talking through how we remember our family history helps clarify those differences. When I remember hard times, specific incidents that had impact on me, I vividly remember the people involved, and my feelings and experiences with those people. It turns out that when my mother remembers specific incidents that had big impact on her, she remembers her feelings about it, the emotions she experienced, not the specific people involved.
Having this conversation allowed me some insights in terms of her emotional response to things I say or struggles she experiences in her life. She simply processes things differently from how I process them, and there’s so much beauty in that difference.
Have you told people the impact they had on you? Do you share your memories with people, so they understand how much their actions meant to you? When you share these stories with people in your life, you have an incredible opportunity not only to be grateful, and to thank people, but to see those same experiences through their eyes.