Here’s a little experiment for today: Close your eyes — after you finish reading this blog — and think about the fondest memories of your childhood.
What comes to mind?
Over the past several years, I’ve read a number of books and dozens of articles that pose variations of that question and know what “the research” says most people remember.
However, I decided to conduct a little non-scientific experiment of my own and posed it to a bunch of people I know. There’s no double-blind testing or control group, mind you, so criticism of my scientific method is probably appropriate.
Here are a few of the responses:
- Going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and being able to open one present before going to sleep
- Visiting my grandparents for a week each summer
- Playing “kick-the-can” and “ghost in the graveyard” with all the neighborhood kids on warm summer nights
- Saturday morning cartoons
- My grandma’s Easter lamb cake – there was a special lamb pan and everything, but you needed toothpicks to keep the lamb’s head attached
- Catching fireflies at dusk in the summer
OK, so my results are pretty in line with the real experts. It’s really those simple rituals, the things that we did over and over again with people we loved – the traditions of our childhood – that we now hold most near and dear to our hearts.
I doubt that these results or the expert research is really very surprising. Most people, when asked, don’t hesitate to say and truly believe that family is the most important thing in their lives.
One working mom hero of mine that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know personally, Lorle Campos, sums it up so nicely in her book “The Little Things are the Big Things” by describing families as “vitamins for our soul.” And the simple act of creating traditions – big or small, but always meaningful – are the B12s and Cs that, in combination, help keep us soulfully healthy.
Stay tuned for upcoming ideas (and a few stories along the way!) that you can use to nourish the souls of your family. Until then…