As my kids were growing up, every year when they got home from the last day of school they knew they would find a big homemade summer calendar on the door in the kitchen. It started with the last day of school and ended with the first day of the next school year. And in between those two dates they would see all the fun activities that we as a family would be doing throughout the summer.
The calendar was decorated with cute little colored pencil pictures (for those who couldn’t read yet) and included vacations, and beach days, and fun family activities every Friday since that was Dave’s day off. There was also Vacation Bible School, and trips to visit family, and neighborhood water fights, and other random things that we planned to do.
Though our kids have kids of their own now, the other day I looked at my kitchen door and thought, “Something is missing.” All those summer calendars and all the fun things we did together as a family are great memories. And that was the point. That summer calendar each year was just one of many things we intentionally did with our kids to create a museum of memories. A sense of belonging. Because the Gudgels always had a summer calendar, and we always chopped down a real Christmas tree, and we always….
You can’t know what things your kids will remember and what they will forget. So my philosophy was always to throw as many good family memories at them as I could. That would up the odds that they would remember some of them! And whether they remembered them or not, they would all help build a sense of belonging. We were the Gudgels and these were things we did.
There are many things that a parent should want their family to be, and a museum of memories is one of them. You can intentionally build traditions into your family. Things you always do. It could be certain cookies that you make at Christmas, or having one night a week when you all sit together under the stars or by the fireplace and read a book together (Chronicles of Narnia is a great one!), or a summer calendar.
Though it will take some time and effort, and sometimes money, the memories you build into your family will bind you together. It’s another way to intentionally make the most of those years that go by so fast as your kids are growing up. So take the time to build a museum of memories for your family. It will be so worth it.
by Bernice Gudgel