4-Steps to Making Meaningful Memories
Updated: Jun 28
I am an avid CELEBRATOR. I naturally think of ways to make meaningful memories. Early in my journey as a single mom, I experienced the profound importance of being intentional about making memorable moments that create lasting memories.
I decided (or was led by the wisdom of God) early in my journey as a single mom that I would be committed to creating positive memories. I needed these life-giving moments for my own well-being and I wanted them for the emotional stability of my children.
Our lives were so intense, pressed in on every side, and we desperately needed a break. The emotional rollercoaster of weekend visitations, feeling the fear for the future, and all of the uncertainties that come with a sudden 180 degree change of direction, led me to know we desperately needed a change of scenery, if only for a moment.
These opportunities to make meaningful memories came in the form of family vacations, family fun nights, weekends away, or celebrating an event. I was always on the lookout for opportunities to create meaningful memories for our family, ones that would echo in the hearts of my children as they stepped into adulthood.
Those moments of making meaningful memories were monumental in our journey as a family. We connected and became bonded during those special times together. We stepped away and learned how to breathe again and find our way as a family.
At home, kids would often retreat to their rooms. I would be busy with work or household chores…we were learning how to live life and it took a lot of time and emotional energy, as any transition does. So, the opportunities to step away from the normalcy of the day were vital in helping us build emotional resilience and a sense of well-being.
It was during this time, with all the intensity of life, equipped with the Word of God, that I developed a I belief and value that I carry with me even today.
I discovered throughout the word of God, He directs the fathers to ‘tell your children’ about the miracles of old. “REMEMBER,” He says. I read things like:
He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. He has a vision and a hope for your future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He is a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children. (Matthew 7:11)
These simple truths helped me step into the belief that our Father really desires good things for His children - and, because he calls us to remember His goodness, He empowers us to create those impactful, important, fun times with our families. I dared to believe it was His GOOD PLEASURE to do so.
So, lovely Lead-Her, as you look into the future, there are some wonderful ways you can begin now to build memories and stay connected to your family and empower them to make meaningful memories. You can make memories and moments that matter by following these few simple steps.
“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.”. Alek Wek
#1 CREATE THE SPACE IN TIME | What gets planned gets done
Put your family time in your calendar now. It can be:
a weekend a quarter or
a night a month
a week vacation
…just set aside the time NOW. If it is blocked on your calendar, it is more likely to happen.
BRAINSTORM TOGETHER | Make it a Family Fun Night
Dream together, having ideas down on paper will increase the likelihood that something will happen.
My husband and I keep an ongoing list of date night ideas. We keep a Trello board of these ideas and can add to it whenever either of us has a thought.
Grab multiple colors of sticky notes, markers, or get out the whiteboard.
Pop some popcorn, or better yet, use this yummy EASY recipe for Carmel Popcorn in the microwave (it's sure to draw a crowd).
Invite kids to dream big and also come up with local ideas.
Make a meaningful memory out of planning to make memories.
PREPARE YOUR FAMILY | Set expectations
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”― Benjamin Franklin
OK, are you ready to start MAKING MEMORIES.
Well, press pause and gather together to set expectations.
Depending on the ages you might get some complaints, especially if you have not intentionally connected with your kids in the past. So, if family meetings are not a regular event in your house, announce it ahead of time.
“On date at time, we are going to have a family meeting to discuss expectations and desires for our family vacation, or family fun night each month.”
Text your kids, put it in a family reminder, remind them throughout the week.
Here are some suggestions for a Family Meeting Agenda:
Thank everyone for placing value on family.
(take a moment and say something good and affirming about each person)
Share the desired outcome of meeting
Establish the expectations for the Memory - Making Event
Everyone will have an opportunity to share
We will come to agreement on what the expectations and desires are for everyone on this trip, or during our family nights. Some things to consider are:
Phones / no phones;
How long you expect to be together;
Can friends come along?
Expectation of attitudes;
Don’t expect attitudes to change overnight, but keep the vision before your kids.
When all the kids were still home, I set up a Friday Night Family Night. It literally took a year for my kids to get on board with the idea. They kept making other plans, and oftentimes I would relent (because the battle was just hard and discouraging) But I’d pick up the banner of FRIDAY FAMILY NIGHT again, rally the kids and FINALLY after about a year, they owned it. It became apparent that they had bought into the idea for themselves when I overheard one of them tell a friend, “NO, I can’t do that, it’s our family night, but you could come here.” Family nights became a gathering place for others as well.
BE INTENTIONAL | Follow through & Follow up
Don’t let anything get in the way of follow through. Our kids must know our word is true. Many have been hurt time and time again by unkept promises. It is better to start small with something doable than to promise a trip to the beach when you have never left the city.
This is JUST as important as the planning and preparing. We want our children to learn how to think, to engage in the world around them, and to REMEMBER THE MEANINGFUL MOMENT. Ask two simple questions:
What did you love?
What did you learn?
For more ideas on Making Meaningful Memories, check out this post by John Maxwell.
If you feel stuck or ill-equipped to help your family make meaningful memories (especially on a budget) reach out for a quick brainstorming call. I'd love to help you dream of meaningful memories for you and your family.