As I begin week 3 of being with my mom on what hospice refers to as “her final hours” I’ve found myself very reflective on the memories created by my mom and dad (who died 9 years ago—complications from Parkinsons). Last night I was sorting thru photos in search of ones we will use at mom’s celebration service and they triggered such strong feelings and/or stories. It was a great experience!

As I moved from my parents’ photos to my own family photos (involving my mom), my 22 year old daughter and her good friend were hovering over me enjoying the pictures and accompanied memories. My daughter said, “Dad, I can’t believe how many photos and videos we have—it’s awesome!” My daughter’s friend immediately replied, “We barely have any photos. My parents said they weren’t very good at documenting our lives.” The disappointment in her voice was obvious. I got sad for her as I heard the difference between the girls’ responses because I’m well away that capturing memories can be so important for one’s identity and well being.

I went to bed thinking about so many of my friends who have young kids and I thought, “It’s so easy in today’s technological culture to record events and activities and I sure hope they’re doing it.” If you are a youth worker with a young family…oh, please capture those memories. Your kids will be so thankful. Our home is rich with stories and laughter and recall of events and people who have shaped their lives that are well documented. It’s not too late to start…just begin.

Youth workers should be among the best at capturing memories because we’re in the business of being memory makers. When I interact with kids who used to be in my youth group, they don’t remember my messages/teaching times, their memories race back to camps, conversations, conflicts, people, and experiences. They don’t remember my teaching on church community, but they definitely remember us wrapping the senior pastor’s home in toilet paper (where they may have learned more about the beauty and fun and community within church). It’s amazing what they remember.

We make memories! That’s what we’re good at. I’m challenging you to do the same thing within your home and ministry. You won’t regret it. I promise.

[oh yeah…that’s me and my older sister sitting next to my mom 45 years ago]

So how are you doing as a memory maker youth worker and/or parent?