In the multivariable equation of raising good teenagers, one of the things that will create a bond of affection between teen and parent is good memories. Everyone’s hearts are endeared to people and places when positive memories are associated with them.
Over the years, Teri and I have purposely built many enduring memories into the fabric of our children’s lives. I can’t remember when it began, but many years ago a family tradition was started that no doubt will bring a smile to the faces of our children in the years to come and most likely will be passed on to their families as well.
One evening we were having spaghetti for dinner, and upon the completion of the prayer I just had this overwhelming urge to throw a spaghetti noodle at one of the kids. So with great accuracy and skill, I let loose a single strand of the skinny pasta and it found its mark around the nose of an unsuspecting child. To the delight of all, they saw this as permission, and soon all nine of us were flinging the sticky stuff at one another. In the end, the dinner table was a mess and part of the evening meal was no longer edible, but most importantly there was laughter, smiles, and lasting memories.
To this day, whenever we have spaghetti, as soon as the prayer is finished, a much smaller-scale food fight occurs. Now, we only allow a small handful to be thrown, but the tradition continues to the delight of all, and there is always a mischievous joy when guests come to the house and the meal planned for the night is spaghetti.
You may not choose to have a food fight, but it is important that the short time you have with your children—and especially your teens—has many good memories incorporated into it. Over the years we have played games together, gone on hikes, spent vacation time together, and most importantly sat around the dinner table and talked and laughed. Someone said, “What we remember from childhood we remember forever,” and I believe that is true.
In simple and in big ways, take the time to invest in good memories. You will never regret or forget the times your family laughed, played, and spent time together, and neither will your children or teens when they are grown.