“What will my children remember?”

Published on June 03, 2022

An apple juice box was clutched in my five-year-old hand while the red plastic racecar zoomed across the living room floor. 

My dad and I had been playing with the set of remote-controlled racecars all afternoon, and my little heart was full to the brim with joy. 

It’s been thirty years since then, and that memory is still fastened to my heart. My parents hadn’t had much money to spend that Christmas, only able to afford that one set of plastic cars and a case of my favorite juice. 

When they look back to that year, they probably feel a measure of sadness, wishing they could have given more. But, for me, sprawling out on the floor competing against my dad for the fastest racecar with sticky apple juice on my face—it is one of my most cherished memories. 

Bad and good memories 

Some days I wonder what memories will be ingrained in the minds of my children. Will they be mostly good memories? Or will they be mostly painful? 

They will no doubt remember the night their dad packed up his things and left, but will they also remember the nights I sang them hymns until they fell asleep? 

They will probably never forget the time I lost my cool and yelled at them from the back porch in my sweatpants with my hair in a shower cap, but will they remember the time I was screaming with laughter as we all played Twister in the living room? 

They may remember seeing me crumbled on the kitchen floor weeping, and they may recall some traumatic moments as our life flipped upside down. More than those things, I hope and pray the memories that take center stage in their minds will be the times the Bible was read to them at the kitchen table, the evenings I recited Scripture with them, and the mornings I went through the Shorter Kid’s Catechism with them in the school drop-off line. 

I want my kids to remember the good times, the special moments, and the things that have eternal value. But if that is my goal as a mother, then the responsibility lies with me to do all I can to emphasize eternal and worthwhile things.

What will our children remember? 

What will our children remember—no one can really say for certain. We don’t have any control over the moments that cement themselves in our children’s minds (or our own!). 

What we can do—and should do—is live each day with the goal of creating wonderful, God-centered memories that last long after they have grown, endeavoring to make so much of Christ that the painful events of the past fade more and more each year. 

We won’t always do this perfectly. Our children will see and hear our sin up close and personal. 

It’s tempting to sink into despair when our sin seems loud and in full view in the home. It’s easy to put our face in our hands and cry “Oh no! My kids will only remember this failure!” but that should not be our response to our weaknesses.

Going deeper 

We cannot forfeit the hope we have in Jesus! 

Because of him, we have the hope that our children will see beyond us and get a glimpse of Christ and his amazing redemptive work. 

Our children will see us struggle and fail. They will hear us say words dripping with sarcasm, and they will notice when we are impatient and unkind. But if we obediently repent and seek their forgiveness, the memory of our gospel-centered reconciliation will surpass the temporal moment of sinfulness. 

There is great joy in that hope!

Whether your life is running smoothy or everything is in utter chaos, be mindful of the bigger picture.  

What do we want our kids to remember? Do we want them to look back on their childhood years and remember only fretful, fearful, finicky parents? Do we want their memories to be of mom being too busy or dad being too detached? 

Or would we rather them remember conversations over family meals, late night talks about heart issues, and seeing their parents with their Bible in their lap more often than their phone in their hands? 

If we want the next generation to remember worthwhile things, let’s be a people who live and cultivate worthwhile moments in front of them.  

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Kristen Lisemby Rosener

Kristen Lisemby Rosener is a writer, wife and mom with a heart for hurting women and children. Using her own story, she writes with bold conviction and love in order to equip and encourage women to find their strength and joy in Christ. Kristen is the author of The Purple Pickle, a series for hurting children. She is a contributing writer for The Better Mom and has been featured in other Gospel centered websites. Kristen blogs at WhereJoyIs.com where she tackles issues like depression, motherhood and single parenting, identity, and joy. You can also connect with her via Instagram at @wherejoyis. Kristen resides in central Arkansas with her husband and three children.

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