A photograph can stir memory and emotion. Most of us have had the experience of opening a photo album or rummaging through a box of miscellaneous keepsakes, and within moments we feel the emotion of a moment forgotten. Or, we sense the smell of our childhood home, a favorite spice or scent in the air. We are a composite of tens of thousands of memories, each of which, though seemingly forgotten, come to life again in unexpected ways.
Parents daily create an atmosphere for their children. There are memories that shape their personalities, their spirituality, and their choices in life. The opportunity is available to build intentional memories that will serve to guide our children and grandchildren through life. The scriptures instruct us to “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6), and what better way than planning intentionally to build happy, wholesome, and scripturally based memories?
We are all influenced by what our senses perceive. Our world offers a variety of stimuli through media, fashion, and duplicity of character that is processed and stored away. The counterbalance to these carnal influences is the Holy Word of God exampled through our lives and lifestyle. The last part of Proverbs 22:6 reads, “when he is old he will not depart from it.” Intentional training and exampling are the foundation blocks for that choice.
In spite of every effort, some children have chosen the prodigal way seen in Luke 15. The word prodigal translates as “a person who leaves home and behaves recklessly, but later makes a repentant return.” The father of this prodigal prayed and waited expectantly for his son’s return. That son “came to himself.” He was broken and realized the waste and emptiness of his life. It was like the black and white image in his mind became enhanced with color, alive with memory. He reflected on the love of his father and it gave him courage. He longed to return. Life’s humbling circumstances served to bring memories of what he had left and set him on the course of return. A course exampled by his father.
The enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, but John 10:10 reminds us that the Father offers abundant life. The Lord entrusts our family and friends into our lives so that all our lives can be abundantly blessed. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).
Being intentional in how we fulfill that trust is our personal opportunity to create a lifetime of memories that will influence the future.