My firstborn son reminded me yesterday that I used to attempt to conceal Dramamine tablets in Almond Joy bars when he was a little boy. I had totally forgotten! I actually thought it was a really clever idea. MY dad was of the mind to give me Dramamine without the added help of chocolate and coconut. I was just told to “suck it up.”
Randall’s comment scared me… What else did I do or say during his formative years that I simply don’t remember. Memories are way too selective. I remember that I built the boys the coolest fort and hide-out ever known to mankind. It even had turrets for water guns. And I recall going up to the elementary school to have lunch with Randall and his brothers. We took Saturday expeditions from our rural community to go to Walmart, Toys-R-Us, and neat museums on cold winter days. We went camping. And I made up the best bed-time stories ever. Such yarns were full of adventure and intrigue. And I always left the boys hanging! The story was continued the next night. I went on countless school trips. I was the "room dad" when Randall was in the 5th grade. I remember those things…
I am firmly convinced that I said and did things that were hurtful or damaging. I remember some of those events too, but my memory is quite selective. I wish the worse thing I ever did to one of my children was disguising the Dramamine. But that’s not true. That time has passed. My children are adults. I can’t roll the clock back. But I can encourage young parents with a few words of encouragement based on my own experiences.
· Don’t fail to laugh. We did laugh a lot. It’s important.
· Do things out of your comfort zone. (I failed in this department.) That’s a valid pursuit.
· Work together. Make yardwork or chores around the house fun.
· Expose your children to interesting people.
· Encourage them to be independent. (Beware…they will move off to Los Angeles.)
· Don’t be an enabler. Allow them to suffer the consequences of their choices.
But most of all…build those memories that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. It appears they will remember more than you will. Memories ARE selective....