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How to make our memories more tangible? Jan 21, 2019

I love listening to people recall memories from their childhoods. Their memories are a bit of nostalgia, a feel-good recall of their favourite meal or teacher and so on. However, memories are much more than this.

Interestingly, when I surveyed people in my local shopping centre about what they do with all the images they take on their mobile phones, 7 out of 10 said that they either do nothing or post them to social media. Is this a problem we should be worried about?

Being human in a digital age

Author Jonathan Taplin in his book MoveFast and Break Things explores what it means to “be human in the age of digital addiction”. He worries that the idea of “an examined life” is missing in our current digital rush. The tech economy, with its constant change, has created a new way of being. It is oriented to the short-term and focused on potential ability, rather than acquired knowledge. Interestingly, he contrasts this with his own life learnings, where he argues, “…most of us need a life narrative in which we take pride in being good at a specific task and we value the experiences we have lived through.”

Can we have both?

A lost generation?

How do we support our kids to be both open and adaptable to change, while at the same time, providing them with a solid understanding of who they are and their place in this rapidly changing world?

As a parent or grandparent, you might wince at the number of photos and selfies taken these days. Far too many of these precious moments are trapped in these digital formats, some lost forever, some due to technical breakages, other due to a mistaken perception that they are there on social media platforms for them to access when and should they wish to. This has led the Association of Professional Photographers of America to question, “Will this generation be a lost generation, with a lost history?”

Reflection that lead to actions

Are we providing enough avenues for children to reflect. “Knowing thyself” requires reflection. Reflection that leads to action, and action which brings about desired transformation. Rather than “living in the past”, we want to encourage reflection that helps kids understand and know their thoughts, so that they can become conscious observers of their thoughts. By taking the time to reflect, we can help our children form positive beliefs about themselves and encourage actions that will provide them with experiences that confirm who they are becoming.

Knowing our touchstones

Author of the recent book Smart Girls Screw Up Too, Bella Sanesco, highlights the importance of knowing “our touchstones” as children. There is something special about observing what motivates your child at a time when they are their most pure and natural selves. It was remembering her own touchstones that helped her deal come through a difficult period in her life, by guiding her back to do what she enjoyed doing as a child – sailing.

Who are they becoming

We need “some intent” about who we want to become, and this is just as important as “the actions” we take to become that person. This is so powerful to know and to use when raising our kids, because they are so more easily able to be positively influenced by helping them form these positive beliefs at an early age using age-appropriate reflection.

Belief in themselves

When our kids truly believe that they can do something, they will then take action, proving Henry Ford’s wise words true … whether they believe they can or they can’t, they’ll be right.


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