On the list of things to do in a given week, or month, finding the time to record special memories for your family probably doesn’t make the top twenty. Who has time for that, you might think, and why would you need to do that these days? Besides, with the smart phones of today, surely you already capture more photos, and subsequently, memories, than you could ever need, right?
Well, not exactly…
Digital devices have actually created a new form of overwhelm, a digital clutter, that people are now forced to grapple with due in large part to the fact that so many experience life’s most precious moments through the camera app of their phone. Lost in the hustle to get the perfect photo is the experience itself, not to mention the true connection to the moment.
Photos accumulate; life rolls on.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. For those who have the willingness to recognize this tendency in themselves and want to make a change, there’s a better way.
Having studied the practice of documenting important family moments, I’ve determined that there are at least 21 unique ways in which deliberately saving family memories through the act of handwriting will profoundly change your life. Here they are:
- You gain a profound appreciation for the present moment and an intense desire to be more present. Ironically, becoming more intentional in your recording of family moments and memories brings with it a greater focus on these special moments themselves, in real-time. Becoming more aware of the moments that define your family experience helps you to be more attentive to truly experiencing them and being in the moment when they occur.
- Putting pen to paper will engrain important memories in your mind, making them stronger and more vivid. The act of writing opens a direct and highly focused connection to your nervous system where the physical world, the movement of your hand, interacts as one with your mind. It concentrates focus on the idea you hold in your head. The stroke of your hand and the movement of your pen over paper acts like a computer saving data to a hard drive. And while that memory may not be available to you forever due to the limitations of your mind and aging, it will undoubtedly be more rich with detail, broader in scope, and more easily recalled when written.
- You will strengthen the bond between you and your loved ones. Recording your family’s greatest hits will have you falling further and further in love with them. You might not believe that’s possible, but the practice will bring family into even clearer focus, which will only strengthen your family bond. As Tony Robbins says, “where focus goes, energy flows”.
- Your true family values will be revealed to you, affording you the opportunity to observe, teach and live them. Through observation of your written memories it will become clear where your true family values lie. What you record will show you exactly where happiness lives for your family and what you hold most dear. Are you happiest when you take elaborate trips to exotic destinations or is the peacefulness of grandma’s all your family needs? Is there a clear theme or commonality amongst the moments you treasure most? These are very revealing observations that can be used to identify the values you want to teach and live within your family.
- Gain a deeper appreciation for life itself. I believe it to be virtually impossible to bring focus and attention to a special family memory, commit to writing about it, and not be filled with appreciation for life and its beauty.
- Recognize that you have what you need. We live in a world where it is all too easy to become caught up in the trappings of social media, longing for things we see in others’ lives that we think we need. Saving family memories will help you reel your mind back in from those useless thoughts and remind you of the beauty that is uniquely yours. What matters is what you have to write about, because if you have something, you have been blessed with a most precious gift.
- You are reminded of what is most important in life, people and experiences, not things and money. Achievement and leveling up in life for your family should be celebrated, but not at the expense of what is most important, family. Saving family memories reminds you that life is only as rich as the relationships you have with those whom you walk alongside through the world. Further, experiences are what change lives indelibly. Long from now, your material possessions of today will be all but forgotten, but your experiences will never be lost. New experiences will positively shape you and your family in ways nothing else can.
- You create a collection of detailed memories for your children to enjoy for themselves and with their own children. Imagine reading through the details of your early childhood, much of which you might have been too young to remember. Now imagine giving the gift of that experience, the details, and the story behind it to your children and to your children’s children. This beautiful act of love will fill your heart with joy and leave a legacy of compassion and selflessness long after you’re gone.
- You honor your family unit through your actions and set an example for your own children to follow. If family is a priority, then this act of love illustrates that which you hold dearest. Your actions, not your words, define who you are and what you stand for. If love of family is indeed one of your most dear and guiding core values, then saving family memories for their preservation and enjoyment should align perfectly with who you are and what you hope to instill in your children.
- Gratitude will fill your heart and soul. This cannot be emphasized enough. The documented benefits of bringing more gratitude into your life are countless. With each memory saved, the gratitude that washes over you is an experience in and of itself, one that has staying power long after you’ve put the pen away. There is a serenity that gets tapped into, a peaceful knowing that speaks to your heart reminding you of just how blessed and fortunate you are to have the opportunity to preserve such a moment. And that is like rocket fuel to the soul.
- You realize and are reminded of your purpose. When you finally recognize your purpose, when you embrace it, and hold that purpose in your heart as a guiding light, everything in life becomes more clear. Decisions are more easily made. Your intuition leads you. Everyone finds purpose uniquely and, perhaps, if you feel you are still searching for yours, ask yourself whether having the experience of life itself can be that purpose. Recording memories is a practice of recording the experience of life and those moments in which you feel most touched and impacted.
- Your feeling of accomplishment grows, tangibly, with each new entry as your archive of memories expands over time. With each documented memory, your collection of memories grows, filling you with pride and accomplishment for having done something to serve your family and yourself. The gratification that results from this process is rewarding and it compels you to do more, creating a virtuous circle.
- Being in service to your family, a sense of duty grows in you that compels you take on the role of protector and curator of family memories. Your service is a gift that will continue to give for lifetimes beyond your own while simultaneously fueling you with purpose and fulfillment.
- You are filled with the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’re doing enough. Never letting a big important family moment go undocumented fills you with the satisfaction of knowing that you’re not only doing enough for your family to honor your time together, but you’re actually doing more than most. A sense of pride develops within you as a result of these efforts and you see yourself in a new light, as one who goes above and beyond for their family, one who does more — one who intentionally lives their values.
- Your priceless collection of memories will comfort you and fill you with joy later in life. Regardless of your circumstances at any given point in the future, you can recall and re-live, at will, the details and emotions of your greatest family moments and be reminded of those special times. These priceless memories can be called upon at any time, especially in difficult periods, to lift spirits, regain hope, or provide a realignment of perspective.
- You will undoubtedly experience the feeling of being aligned with who you truly are or desire to be as the one who documents your family’s special time and moments together. Meaningful tasks and duties such as this with clear intentions and benefits align your outer self with the desires of the inner self, your heart and soul. That synchronicity is where the truest peace lives.
- You leave a handwritten history and legacy to future generations you may or may not ever know. This archive of special family moments, this record, is one of your experience as a family. Through it others might know more about you, feel a connection to a different moment in time, and recognize, learn from, and share in your devotion and commitment to family.
- By documenting your family memories, you begin to notice more because your mind becomes trained to do so. Simple things that may have seemed insignificant to you in the past are suddenly more meaningful and important. Meaning and joy begins to emerge from the simplest encounters because you see the world through a different lens, one that accentuates the good.
- Your true self is revealed to you when you write. Writing has a way of emptying your mind of its contents, sometimes revealing things that you may not have even realized about an experience or yourself. When writing your memories, you pour onto the page details captured by your mind that you otherwise would not consciously recall. The true presence and focus you are forced to find when writing your memories unearths and releases recollections that would otherwise be lost amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life.
- You remind yourself that the good times in life far outweigh the bad. Recognizing this simple truth will do wonders for your health and wellbeing. Writing your memories can help you see that the glass of life is half-full rather than half empty.
- You will desire and strive to make more moments more regularly. Perhaps one of the most profound realizations is that your special family memories will inspire you; let them. As a result of your practice of saving these memories, you more readily recognize and realize the positive impact and benefits that making memories has on your family and your growth together. As a result, you will put a greater emphasis on carving out and making time together a top priority.
Special moments in life are like family assets you should work to collect and preserve. By honoring those moments and giving them the attention they deserve, you will undoubtedly enjoy a more meaningful and fulfilling life and leave a lasting legacy for your family.
For a simple and easy way to start your own meaningful practice of saving family memories, check out our line of family heirloom journals here.