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Mother and child baking holiday cookies.

Building a Foundation with Memories

My oldest daughter Laila taught me a precious lesson about memories. In March of 2018, my father died. At that time, Laila had just turned 4. My parents lived in Florida, and she only saw them in person a handful of times. We made sure there were several phone conversations and FaceTime calls in between visits. Over three short years, she developed a bond with my father that remains unbroken. One day she said something that brought me to tears: “I miss him. He was kind to me.”

Through her grief, she reminded me that children remember more than we think they do. His life left a mark on her heart. Despite the long distance, a bond had grown between them, and a heartstring connecting her heart to his stretches beyond this lifetime. The legacy he left for her was kindness.

We have an opportunity to build a foundation of memories for our children. While there are many circumstances outside of our control, we can control the quality of the time we spend with our children. That investment of time will last beyond the childhood years and leave a legacy.

Life in general and adult responsibilities can get in the way of time with our children and cause friction. When we don’t have enough time, we can feel guilty. During these moments, take a deep breath and remember that quality of time is as valuable as quantity. Quality time with our kids creates memories.

Memories have a way of capturing our senses and emotions. As parents, we can use this knowledge to help build precious moments with our children by creating environments that reflect warmth, kindness, and love through their senses. Ask yourself:

  • What does my home smell like?
  • Do I provide moments of direct eye contact with my children through conversation, play, or storytelling? This promotes bonding.
  • What are the sounds of my home?
  • What is my body language communicating?
  • Is my tough gentle?

  • As we enter this holiday season, remember that being intentional can be a helpful tool in making positive memories. It is less about the toys or new electronic gadgets that we can provide and more about our ability to fully show up when we are with them. It is my prayer that when I come to the end of my days, I too will leave a legacy of love and kindness.

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    About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS

    About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS Jeané Liburd has worked in the field of child Iife since 2005. She earned a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is trained in play therapy. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor for Liberty University. Throughout her career, she has provided services for children and families in various settings including hospitals, pediatric hospice, and community programs. The focus of her work is supporting children and families who have experienced illness, grief, and loss.