I talk and talk and talk.
Just ask my wife.
Maybe it’s because I sit and listen all day to others talk. But really, I have always been a talker. I remember as a little kid talking to my mom and dad endlessly. In fact, I have one memory of driving with my dad and brother on a road trip through the Southwest (after my mom died) and I remember talking non-stop. I remember asking questions. I remember talking about memories of events. And I never remember my dad ever cutting me off when I talked. I never remember him not listening. I never remember him sighing or looking as if he was wanting to do something else. When I talked, I always had his full attention. It’s still that way. Those of you who know my dad have experienced the same, as I am told stories time and time again about how people feel heard when they are talking with him.
And as I read through strategy #7 of The Whole-Brain Child, I have to think that all that talking and remembering is what has helped me not only have a great memory, but has helped me understand my life experiences. Essentially, I think my dad’s ability to ask questions, listen and help me remember, has been huge in helping me integrate my implicit and explicit memories through being able to talk — i.e. tell stories (see strategy #6).
“The act of remembering comes naturally for most people. But memory is like so many functions of the brain: the more we exercise it, the stronger it becomes. That means that when you give your children lots of practice at remembering–by having them tell and retell their own stories–you improve their ability to integrate implicit and explicit memories.” (pp. 83).
I love that quote.
And as I read that quote and practice this strategy I am reminded how often God calls his people to remember, especially the covenant he has made with him. In chapter 3 of my book The Anxious Christian, I talk quite a bit about how the more I remembered stories about my mom and was able to talk about her, I was better able to integrate those experiences in a healthy way. For me, it helped me understand my anxiety better and learn how to use it for good.
One of the things that my dad has always done for my brother and I is to help us remember our mom. He sends us emails on important dates like her birthday, her death, mother’s day, etc. And when he does that he tells a story about her that helps us remember her. This process of remembering has been an ongoing process that has helped me heal.
There are a lot of ways to help your kids remember and Siegel and Bryson suggest several ideas.
“With very young children, keep things simple, focusing on returning their attention to the details of their day. Did you go to Carrie’s house today? What happened when we got there? Just recounting basic facts like this helps develop your child’s memory and prepares her for interacting with more significant memories down the road.” (pp. 84)
As kids get older they suggest that you become more “strategic” on what you focus on, as well as encouraging practices like journaling.
My wife and I usually ask our kids questions like “What was the best part of your day today? What were you doing?” And “What was the hardest part of your day? What were you doing?” Or questions like, “Where did you feel most close to God today?” “Were there times today were you felt like God wasn’t talking to you?” Obviously, we use varying language depending on if we are talking with our six-year old daughter or our three-year old son.
What practices do you do to help your kids remember?
[above image: David Icke]