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Jan
03

All the Memories they Forgot

By

Of all my blog articles, this one might be my MOST CONTROVERSIAL.

This one could get me fired from CWAHM, or banned from the Internet, or cause me to receive death threats.

But, at some level I’m a truth-telling journalist and I must be true to the facts. So, here we go:

Your kids will forget Disney.

Gulp. There it was. Let the onslaught of hate begin. To make it worse, I’m also going to include every other cute and meaningful activity that you did with your kids when they were little. They won’t remember any of it.

There are scores of older, experienced Dads reading this and they are all solemnly nodding their heads in agreement. As if to say, “You said it brother. Better you getting the death threats, than me. But you’re right, they won’t remember any of it.”

If they were brave enough, or could be interviewed with their faces obscured and their voices disguised, then one of them might elaborate. “I asked my teenage daughter if she remembered the giant birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese when she was 6 . . . all she remembered was a joke her uncle told on the way there. It wasn’t even funny.”

And it’s that way with all the large, expensive, and elaborate things that parents do for their younger children. Just the other day, someone asked me advice on what to do with their family on a Disney vacation. I didn’t say it – it’s easier to passive-aggressively write about it online – but my advice would be ‘to save your money and build a blanket fort.’

I know from experience; we had taken our two boys many times to Disney when they were little, and you know what? The best thing they remember is riding in the Monorail and stopping for hamburgers on the way home.

Same thing with the giant birthday party we had for them with a dinosaur theme where we invited half the neighborhood? No recollection. The community Easter Egg hunt? Nope. The Christmas party where they could pet a real reindeer? No recollection.

There is a redeeming point to this scandalous article. Two points actually:

1.) Kids remember things that are positive emotional closeness to you. Memories are encoded (stored) with emotion — usually through positive love/closeness emotion or terrible/scary emotion. Most events for kids are big, unknown, and confusing; a sense of positive chaotic wonder doesn’t encode memories. So if you do go to Disney or some other big event, don’t get so caught up in all the chaos of planning and executing the day that you forget to have closeness with your child. If driving, parking, planning, cutting, eating, decorating or anything else to make an event really special, keep you from spending simple time with your kid, then the point has been missed.

2.) Save your energy and do something incredibly simple. You know, a box that we got off the curb was some of my kid’s best time when they were little. We spent $.0000000000001 in marker-juice drawing doors and a window on it. Go to the airport and look at airplanes. Ride a bus together. Build a blanket fort with your kids and read inside it. These things are the best memories for your kids.

The spiritual implication of this is obvious. But just in case it wasn’t, Jesus used a very obvious example to drive this point home.

Jesus had two friend-girls that invited him over for dinner. One (Martha) was doing everything to make the dinner a success; food, organization, cleanliness – the whole works. Her friend Mary was sharing in emotional closeness with Jesus.

You can read the story in Luke 10:38, but you’ve probably already surmised that Jesus praised Mary because she chose the right thing.

Remember, you as Dads, are the living example of Jesus to your kids, so start showing them about the simple important things of life when they are young. You’ll save a lot of money and work in the process AND you’ll save yourself the annoyance when you ask them, “Remember when we . . . . . “

Plus, not only will you be wiser for better choices for your kids, you can also avoid the witness protection program – which is where I will be heading as soon as this article goes to print and the angry mob of Disney passholders arrives with pitchforks and tar.

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