Ah, Memorial Day weekend . . . the first three-day weekend of the summer!
If you’re anything like me, you have big plans for the weekend. Beach trip? Hiking in the mountains? Maybe, a relaxing backyard barbecue?
It’s fun while it lasts. I wouldn’t want to miss a moment of the activity—from hearing my six-year-old daughter shout for more ice cream to having a short “real conversation” with my teenage son.
If your experience is anything like mine, the weekend goes by so fast! Then, the clamor of work the next week pounds away the memories. So, let’s plan something radically different for this Memorial Day.
Memorial Day weekend is a call to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. What a great weekend to resolve to remember better!
Before you pack your bags, before you start corralling the kids into your car, before you plug in that address to your GPS, take a moment to consider two things.
Remembering is an important—even sacred—act. One of the reasons I let life slip through my memory banks so quickly is that I don’t realize how important remembering is. The Bible encourages us to “remember the deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 77:11).
Recently, I’ve become convinced I take far too many things for granted, including those precious three-day weekends scattered throughout the year. I fail to realize that the work of God during daily life is just as important as his work during big turning points. The moments of sunshine and laughter God has allowed me to enjoy with my daughter are equally significant to anything that happens at work.
Sometimes I may consider these moments of joy as God’s small blessings on my life—his little deeds. But, in light of eternity, God has an entirely different perspective.
Those moments are worth cherishing. They are worth remembering because they represent the goodness of God toward my family.
Resolve that this weekend you will remember the “small things.”
Your kids need you to remember. What you decide to remember about your life will become part of your family’s ongoing storyline. Every family has a story it tells itself. Your job as the parent is to shape that narrative and make sure it’s a life-giving story for your children. The few long weekends each year are perfect times to shape your family’s story in a profound way. It’s not hard to do. Here are some ideas to help.
- Choose a phrase or word for the weekend. The word could be anything from God’s gifts to hope to laughter. Ask each one of your kids to be on the lookout this weekend for a story about that word or phrase. This technique helps you and your kids filter all the events of the weekend and look for the extraordinary moments.
- On the way home, ask your kids to tell stories about the weekend using the chosen word. Don’t let the last day of a fun weekend put everyone in a bad mood. Instead begin the remembering process while traveling home. Tell stories about the weekend, emphasizing what you want to remember for years to come—the calm walk on the beach, the intense game your family played together, the arduous hike that led to a magnificent view. Think about God’s gifts of time and relaxation. Avoid stories that put anyone in a bad light. Shape the story your family is telling about the weekend.
- Create a memento. Our memories are activated by an object. That’s why the ancient Israelites on several occasions constructed a memorial altar with stones. They needed an object—in this case, a pile of stones—to help them remember God’s powerful deeds. You can do the same thing the Israelites did years ago with all types of objects. Everyone does this differently. In the cell phone age, many simply snap pictures and upload them. Others buy small physical mementos of a place. At times, I have simply picked up a large shell or a shiny stone and told a story around those objects.
You’ve worked hard for your long weekends, so relax and enjoy these special days. Memories of times spent with your loved ones are important in God’s sight. Take a moment to frame this weekend so your family will be nourished by these memories for years to come.
Your kids won’t forget it.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
Jon Farrar is a senior acquisitions editor for Tyndale’s nonfiction team with more than sixteen years of publishing experience. Recently, Jon has enjoyed partnering with Alister McGrath on C.S. Lewis: A Life, with Chuck Swindoll on Searching the Scriptures, and with Scott Sauls on Jesus Outside the Lines. Jon also manages the One Year devotional line. Before publishing, he earned a master’s degree in history and theology. Jon loves to jog on Chicago’s lakefront when he has the time to do so. Most of his time, however, is spent maintaining the Wi-Fi network for his two kids at home.