The parenting and motivational gurus push happiness. Not always good. However, good memories matter.
EMOtional Fitness Thoughts
My earliest good memory. Sitting in the sun and talking to my father, no one else was around; he was painting the picket fence that surrounded the house where I was born. I was three.
I also include among my good memories: days at the beach; visiting the neighborhood horses with my dog Lady; reading books at night under the covers so my parents wouldn’t know; a midnight walk as a child when my parents woke me to see the Aurora Borealis on one of their very rare visits to the Eastern United States; my first love and I dancing at my Senior Prom; one of my aunts teaching me to crochet; finally, learning how to post during a riding lesson; and many, many more.
I can also list bad memories, but they only make me sad or mad or feel like a bad person. Not useful for the most part.
One of my complaints about talk therapy is that it goes over and over and over bad memories. That is only useful until you make some sense of them to improve your behavior by understanding your feelings better. Improving behavior can range from not hurting other living things, not seeking revenge or just feeling better about you and those around you.
Sad or bad memories come visiting on their own, and even as I typed the above, some bad memories attached themselves to my good ones. However, the more you focus on remembering the good memories, the stronger they become.
Parenting Tip One: Do not go over board trying to create “Happy Times.” Look at my good memories. Many came on their own, some in mostly quiet moments.
Moreover, the more often a good thing happens, the less special it becomes. Think the over load of birthday parties and Christmas. Too much.
I still remember my first movie “Dumbo the Flying Elephant.” With TV and Videos kids have lost the special pleasure I found in that one and in many others that were special, because movies were rare treats.
Parenting Tip Two: Work to teach your child to savor the moments of what is good. My Mom used the rationing forced on her by World War to teach me to eat mindfully with full enjoyment. How? By giving me one square of a much coveted Hersey Bar and telling me to let it melt in my mouth so I could enjoy it longer. Worked.
Parenting Tip Three: Make reaching success after a long struggle should be held in store as a good memory. That is why the trauma experts emphasize “Survivor” instead of victims.
Parenting Tip Four: Make memory books. A memory book can just be a page or two. Here are some get started ideas.
- Establish a memory box or a memory file for each family member.
- Keep the memory box or file where you can quickly put items for them memory book in it.
- Establish a routine for making memory book pages. Devote one evening a month to making memory pages. Use as a rainy day activity. The important thing is to start making the memory book and to keep adding to it as time goes by.
- Establish a routine for reviewing existing memory book. Birthdays, anniversaries, New Year’s Day, graduations are all good times for gathering the family around and reviewing memory books.
Parenting Tip Five: Tough times are also good times for lr creating a page for a memory book. Here are two examples
- The death of a loved one and that includes a pet. often a page will suffice, some basic facts, a picture, how much was loved, how much will be missed, a comforting quote. Other times you and the child might want to create a separate memory book devoted entirely to that person. Useful when grandparents move on.
- Anticipating a painful change. The separation of parents and the move to a new house. Have the child take some pictures of his room, his favorite spots in the neighbor hood, friends visiting, parties or celebrations there End it with a picture of the new home.
Parenting Tip six: Add to your good memory file as a parent during your child’s early years. Making a memory book helps. But here’s another trick: Pause each night before you head to bed and looking in on them as they sleep. Worked for me. Then when the teen years come always end your day with a “Good night, I love you, sleep well” message.
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Thank you for all you do., Work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult and parenting a struggle.
This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt
By the Dots: We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!
However, when writing a Memory Book there is no need to try to please the grammar kings when creating a memory book. Just do it.
LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)