‘It’s Not Like They’ll Remember:’ A Fresh Look at Engaging Our Children in Life Experiences

When Charley was six months old, we grabbed a great deal on some airline tickets and jumped at the chance for an adventure in California. Much to our surprise, we were gifted tickets to Disneyland and thrilled at the idea that at only six months old, our daughter would already get to experience one of the most magical places on Earth.

Despite our excitement, this experience, along with other adventures we have engaged our daughter in, elicited a similar response from others who heard about our plans.

“It’s not like she’ll remember it.”

This statement pains my heart.
I understand it is a common sentiment regarding taking babies or young children to certain destinations or for experiences, especially when the finances required are considered. Would we have taken our six month old to Disneyland had we not been gifted free tickets? No, probably not. But would the idea that she wouldn’t remember it deter us from fully engaging in the day or introducing her to other adventures?
Heck no!

So here’s the question – –

Should we not engage our young children in experiences just because they won’t remember them?

If we are for this common argument, we should consider other effects from this stance.

When our babies are newborns and awake every hour and a half throughout the night, should we not get up to care for them?
“Well, she won’t remember if I changed her diaper or not, so I may as well not…”

Will they remember if they have had clean clothes? Food in their bellies?
The loving words we speak to them or prayers we pray over them as we rock them to sleep? No. Probably not.

What if we consider the same sentiment in regards to our lives and decisions we make?

If I read the Bible today, will I remember everything I read tomorrow?
Nope. Probably not.

What did I eat for lunch yesterday? Three days ago?
I have no clue. (But I do know my cold coffee is still sitting on the table.)

The point is, even though I may not remember the details or even a whole event in its entirety, it still has value. It did in that moment and it does now as I continue to grow as a human being. I don’t remember a large percentage of my life, but that doesn’t mean I just sit on my butt every day because someday I probably wouldn’t remember this day anyway.

Reading my Bible, although I may not remember all that I read, still had value.
It nourished my soul and connected me with my Creator.

Eating meals, although I don’t recall what I ate, still obviously had value.
The food nourished my body.

The hours I have spent feeding my daughter all through the night, changing countless diapers, and cuddling her will likely never be remembered by her.
But they all had value. They kept her healthy and taught her love.

If what matters the most is whether or not you or your child will remember the experience, then there’s never really a substantial reason to make a good choice.

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My daughter will probably never be able to recall memories from that gorgeous, perfect day at Disneyland.
But her brain was stimulated by the lights and sounds. Her heart was nourished by the love she felt that day and the happiness she shared with her parents and her Godmother. And although she may never remember a single second and many of the memories from that day are already even fading for me, I will definitely never forget, as the Disney characters paraded down the street and tears filled my eyes, the look of pure joy and wonder on her precious face.

One of the greatest honors we have as parents is to show our children the world. Tomorrow the memories may begin to fade, but we’re never promised tomorrow anyway. So let’s live each moment fully as we nourish our children’s minds, hearts, and souls, and experience the magic of this life together.

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Photo Cred: Anneliese Christensen
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