This past weekend, our family took our first ever trip to a Lads to Leaders conference. It almost didn’t happen. As Alan mentioned in the blog post last Friday, our families just finished up our homeschool group’s performance of Anne of Green Gables. To say the least, life has been hectic. It was going to be the first weekend in months that we weren’t working on the play. We almost decided to foregoe L2L this year and take a much needed day to rest. However, late Friday night, we decided to make the trip anyway; so Saturday morning we loaded the kids up in the van and drove to Nashville.
All I can really say is “WOW”. Our kids were not participating in any of the events this year, so we got to simply be spectators and cheer along the other kids from our home congregation as they led singing, presented speeches, and read scriptures in front of a crowded room. There is definitely one thing that I can now say without reservation: we do not give our kids enough credit for the talents and abilities they have at such a young age. I’m not a great song leader, but I’ve tried my hand at it for about 15 years now. There were kids there in elementary school that simply put me to shame.
The theme of this year’s L2L conference was “In Remembrance of Me”, so all activities that the children participated in were somehow focused on that theme. I was impressed by how many different 5-7 minute speeches I could listen to on that subject, yet they all be so different. I heard speeches about school lunch boxes, war battles, old grain mills, family losses, and so many others. Any of them would have made great devotionals in front of a congregation (and remember that these came from elementary and middle school kids). One statement that a young boy made, though, has really stuck with me. It almost caught me off guard when he said it. This young boy said he was 10 years old. He stated that his earliest memory is from something he did when he was 5, and even that memory was fuzzy. Then he made the statement: “I realized that I have already forgotten half of my life.”
What a sad thought. All the fun things that his parents had planned and done with him. All the birthday parties. All the Christmases around the tree. All the times running around the backyard. All the times cuddling with mom and dad. All gone. He doesn’t even remember them.
There’s a reason that we hang pictures around our houses. It makes us feel warm and loved when we see pictures of our family together, but it also helps us to remember the happy times in life. I mean, how often do we hang up pictures of fights or arguments that we’ve had. We’d rather just forget those times and hang on to the good.
God knows that we are very forgetfull people. We purge memories to make room for the new ones that are coming along (even if you don’t purge them, they’re buried somewhere behind cobwebs). I believe it’s for that reason why He saw fit to provide the history of His chosen people, the history of His church, and His expectations for us in written form. That way we will always remember. Like pictures hanging on the wall, we can look at the words on the pages of Scipture and remember who we are. We can remember the sacrifices of courageous men and women who helped to lay the foundation of the Church and ensure that it’s borders reached to all corners of the world. We also have the Lord’s Supper each week established by Christ Himself so that we will never forget His selfless sacrifice.
Even though that young boy may have already forgotten half of his life, I promise that the memories he forgot helped to mold him into the young man that he is today. That means those events in his life were not in vain. Just like the food we eat, though we may not remember every meal, each one served the purpose of keeping us strong and helping us to grow.
What memories are you making for your children? Are you feeding them a present that will develop into the right future? Though not every memory will be etched into the core of their subconscious, every memory (good or bad) will help to make them whom they will become. Help them to become what God wants them to be.