Ed Newton- “Choose the memories your kids go home with.”
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 the LORD says,
“ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
In my most recent read through the Bible, I was impressed by how many times the LORD commands us to remember, or think about, or impress, or constantly refresh your knowledge of the commands and instructions of the LORD. I began to think about memories. Specifically I thought about my own memories of my youth group and the trips we took. What do I remember?
I remember “Roll Call.” I remember when Matt and Fahad got sunburn on their heads because they shaved their heads and then forgot sunscreen. I remember “don’t check your brains at the door.” I remember Philippians 2. I remember playing basketball. I remember the sermon illustration when that guys sang I’ll be watching you by Sting, and how much that creeped me out. I remember the man telling us that Jesus was the great potter and he does not make mistakes. I remember hanging out with my youth pastors. I remember the cafeterias and their nasty smells. I remember those awkward camp romances. I remember my wiser friends telling me to let off that nonsense. I remember not listening to their wisdom. Shawn sorting nasty clothes with me, Walter singing songs with me, Ryan eating cereal for lunch and dinner, gasmasks, duct tape, snowballs, and my brother making tremendous efforts to disciple me.
So it occurred to me, while I was taking my own youth group to camp that I wanted them to remember something better. A phrase popped into my head, “pick your memories.” That is what God tells us to do in Deuteronomy. Pick your memories! Don’t let circumstances or the enemy decide your memories. So, how do you pick your memories. Contrary to popular belief, memories are not things that are made in an instant. Rather, they are things that are relived in the mind of the person over and over and over again. So the first step to choosing your memories is to insure that you are reliving the memories that are the ones you want to keep. Paul encourages us to do this. Philippians 4:8, “… think on these things.”
Second, don’t let others force you to relive pointless events. When someone else brings up a memory that they want to relive, you bring up one you want to relive. Let them relive what they wish, but for you… You “take EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE.” (2 Cor 10:5.)
Finally, tell everyone you can about the memories you want to keep.