The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

little things long remembered

Have you heard of this book? Little Things Long Remembered? It’s by Susan Newman and I highly recommend it. Within each chapter of this hand-size book is a list of things you can do with your family that are, you guessed it, little things that will be long remembered.

For example, in the chapter “Weekend Fun”, it suggests preparing a meal for a local shelter, flying a kite, making bread from scratch or raking leaves in a huge pile so your kids can jump in. It suggests doing the kinds of things we usually see in movies or read about in books – but who has the time to bake bread?!?

Every time I run across this book on the shelf, it gives me pause. What do I do for my family that will serve as little things long remembered? If I should take my children to school and die in a car accident on the way back home (if that really does happen, somebody please fix my hair because I never brush it during the morning rush), how would my children remember me? My younger child would think I often confused my cellphone for an earring.

What kind of legacy would I leave behind? I read something once that said it is the responsibility of us mothers to pass down our stories to our daughters. In the day-to-day grind, I often forget I have a story…or an audience in my children…or little things to offer for them to long remember. Your children may not be ready for all that just yet, but they will be, so get ready.

Earlier this week, I took a feeble step in this direction by hauling the 4 of us to a dinner theatre production at our church. What fun! The food was delicious, we made new friends and the play was very funny. Did you notice how I didn’t mention the anxiety I experienced by witnessing my own child’s horrendous table manners? It’s really not my fault, you see, that life messed up my attitude…it seems there was a 4th grade Social Studies test scheduled for the following day. Gulp. To make a long story short, what started out as a nice evening for our family turned into a squawk session. Why don’t you keep up with your studies? How can I call out these facts if I can’t read your hand writing? In hindsight, it really wasn’t pretty and I goofed up should have been a night long remembered. *Sigh*

I’ve decided to change my way of thinking about this. For a long time it’s burdened me. This trying to make something special but not really being prepared for extraneous circumstances or not being primed to NOT let these extraneous circumstances get me off course. No more.

I’m taking it off my shoulders and into my myAgenda (this is my can’t-live-without datebook). I’m going to be scheduling something wonderful each week my kids will remember. Notes in lunch bags or slipped in a Math notebook; someone’s favorite dinner menu – 2 nights in a row; a day off from doing chores. I’ve decided…it’s going to be great.

They call me the Martha Stewart of Motherhood.

Now, you go find something little for your family and make it big.



One response to “little things long remembered

  1. Etiquette From the Trenches September 10, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    What a wonderful reminder. Life is so busy it’s easy to spend all our parenting time shuffling kids around. I know I’m guilty of always multi-tasking in their presence! Instead I should be focusing on them. Thank you!


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