Do you remember being the perfect parent? Me neither. We set out to be, right? We read the parenting books, we paid attention in our college development class. We didn’t want to do anything to screw up like our parents did. We were on a mission that we could do better. Well, I don’t know about you, but I missed the boat somewhere along the way. I started out good but life happened. Life happened to me just like life happened to my parents. They were doing the best they could with what they had. They were young, broke, beaten down with everyone around them telling them they had screwed up by getting married so young and for getting pregnant so soon. Or, were they pregnant and then got married? Either way, it doesn’t really matter. They had a hard life. And, most likely they had it hard when they were children. Their parents probably came out of the depression and lost everything. We have life easy in comparison. With our human nature at the helm, it’s easy to remember the bad stuff.
Did you ever play sports? I bet you have stories of some great victories. Maybe you scored the winning touchdown, shot the free throw that won the game, or hit a home run and brought your teammates in to win the game. Or, maybe you didn’t play sports but you competed in a school club against other schools. You had the winning answer for your team in a debate club, you spelled the word that no one else could spell, or you conquered the other schools at state in your professional club. We remember the victories. However, I dare say you also remember when you were defeated. You remember when you didn’t make the shot or didn’t have the right answer. Which one do you remember first? The victory or the failure? Let’s remember our victories. Let’s play those over and over in our heads. Remembering the victories in life when we were competing is much easier than remembering the victories in our childhood when we were growing up. Dig deep. Ask God to remind you, to show you when you won, to remember when your parents tried to give you the best Christmas present ever. They tried so hard to make you happy, to give you what you wanted. Dig deep and remember when you were playing in the snow making snowmen. Dig deep and remember when your dad took you to play catch, or to ride a horse, or to go ride a motorcycle. Maybe your mom taught you to tie your shoes, or took you to swimming lessons, or taught you to drive a car. Dig deep. Remember. We have gotten so stuck feeling sorry for ourselves and reliving our hardships that we really have to dig deep to remember the good stuff.
In the same way, help your parents remember the good stuff. Do you know how down they are at the end of their life thinking they failed you? They really suffer with the thought that it’s too late now. Might as well just die. I’m too old to help my kids now. Really. I see this everyday. Honour your parent by helping them remember. Again, dig deep and help them remember the good stuff. Stir up stories of when they were young. They will have an easier time remembering way back. When you’re with them wondering what to talk about, dig deep. Dig up the “good ‘ol days.” I bet you can remember stories that your grandparents told you about them. I bet you can remember stories they told about you when you were too young to remember. Whatever you do, just keep digging up the good memories. Digging up failures and past wrongs will not do you or them any good. You will probably benefit far more than your parent by remembering. Remember. Good memories are healing.