Friday, August 6, 2010

Making memories

It's already August and I wonder how more than half the year could have flown by without my realising it. Didn't we just celebrate Christmas not too long ago? I'm constantly reminded of how fast kids grow up, especially when I think about how I was so stressed out over Lesley-Anne's PSLE last year, and now, she's almost three-quarters through secondary 1.

This year, I've been more convinced than ever that we need to consciously make memories of our time with our children. What I mean is that often, we're so caught up with the hustle and bustle of life that we don't stop to punctuate it with something out of the ordinary.

When your kids become adults and look back at their childhood, what will they remember? I shudder when I hear of people who say they associate their childhood with dreary mugging and a series of exams. What a sad way to remember your youth!

I think part of the reason for this is that we don't create enough "moments" for our kids. What are moments? To me, they're like mental snapshots of the interesting bits of our lives. Going on holiday is usually a moment, a big one. These episodes, especially since they tend to be documented by lots of pictures, are what will make an impression or a memory.

However, holidays are usually occasional events, unless you're exceptionally well-off. The rest of the 350 odd days of the year when you're not on holiday tends to be unmemorable. When your kids are not doing homework, studying or busy with some CCA or other, chances are they're just in their rooms, reading or playing with their toys until the grind starts again. Not that there's anything wrong with reading or playing but it can get rather routine, forgettable and even aimless.

Sometime this year, I instituted a movie night on weekends. I just thought it would be nice to break the monotony and plan an event where the whole family could enjoy together. We'd fix a day and time, usually Saturday evening, pick a movie and gather some snacks (of course!)

Honestly, it turned out even better than I expected. It became a treat that the kids looked forward to during the weekend and it motivated them to finish their work faster. After that first movie night, Andre told me he'd had the "best weekend ever". It was so fun that I introduced another event - card night - where we'd play gin rummy (it's not gambling if no money is involved!) Some families prefer to go out but we're homebodies at heart so these activities work for us - they're simple, convenient and don't cost anything.

When my kids look back as adults, I want their childhood memories to be imprinted with our family table tennis and badminton games, movie nights, and bucketloads of laughter. It's brain-washing of sorts, but the good kind.


Lilian said...

2nd attempt at commenting:

I'm sure your kids will have great memories. You guys are such a close-knitted family and do so much together.

I don't know what my kids will remember, we seem to have so many movie outings, movie nights, tv series marathons, that these probably aren't special anymore!

As for me, my childhood memories are made up of weekly family outings to the cinema (mostly sword-fighting Shaw Brothers productions), makans at restaurants (a once or twice monthly treat), laughing lots at my dad's antics, the Hari Raya, Christmas, Deepavali and CNY gatherings at my parents' friends houses (not sure if this Muhibbah spirit still exists today, I think sadly not much anymore), simple holidays to KL, Singapore, Genting and the beach.

And this is just childhood memories, teenage ones are markedly different...and then there are also the scary childhood AND teenage memories of my mum screaming bloody murder at me but that's another story altogether LOL!

monlim said...

Ugh, what's up with Blogger?? Didn't get your first comment again.

I know what you mean, back in our time, outings or visits to restaurants were so rare that they were memorable. Even new clothes! It's harder now to find memorable moments when we do/have so much these days. Perhaps it all boils down to just doing something together that everybody enjoys :)

Anonymous said...

I so I am trying hard to create ours too but sometimes I forget to take photos. So I hope it lingers in the memory nevertheless... :P


monlim said...

QX: I notice that we tend to take photos only of special occasions, trying to work on taking the everyday stuff. Hope you will too! Will make great memories for your dd in the future.

NYMacMom w 3 said...

WIsh this is like FaceBook and I can go "LIKE"!! xoxo, Sarah

monlim said...

Thanks Sarah!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica,

Wonderful idea! I like that.

How do you guys agree to which movie to watch? Can you give me some tips?

In our family, we have tried movie nights a few times before - but the kids cannot agree to which movie we should watch! (Too many cooks in our household perhaps). In the end, we either ended up watching different show in different rooms or do not watch any movies at all:( .Now we have Wii game nights instead :-)


monlim said...

YL: Every family has different tastes of course but for us, our kids already do watch a fair bit of tv so movie night has to be special, not something they watch all the time, then it would not be special. So far, I've proposed movies which are not part of my kids' regular repertoire, like My Fair Lady, Singin' in the Rain and Forrest Gump (although I had them close their eyes during certain scenes :P) In a way, these are movies which are valuable and timeless in their own way, with a little educational value, not the fluffy stuff. So far they've taken to these quite well but I have to admit my kids have quite sophisticated tastes in movies.

But if all else fails, Wii works too!

elan said...

I can really identify with that. I am really keen on creating good family memories for my boys and I do so agree that I don't want them to remember just mugging and scoldings.
we have recently discovered that the sloping white ceiling of our family room is perfect as a projector screen if we all cuddle down together in the sofa bed. So since we don't have a TV, its always a big event ( set up projector, open sofa bed, make popcorn etc) just to watch anything, even the National Day Parade and to my TV-deprived kids, anything is watchable including the commercials!
When I asked them, one of their best holiday memories was when we set up a tent on a deserted part of Changi beach and got rained out. It only cost us $50 for the tent. Yes to boys, sleeping in puddles seems to be more fun and memorable than our 5 figure holidays.


monlim said...

Elan: Projector, sofa bed and popcorn, sounds heavenly! Like that no need to go to the movies lah. And if your boys find sleeping in puddles in a tent enjoyable, that's always a cheap option for you! Mine are more spoilt, they like 5-star hotels, thank you (so does their mum!!)

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