Book Recommendations, Homeschooling, Memories, Parenting

Memory: Prime 1 and Prime 2

When I play a concentration game, why I do I remember the first card I turn over? Always.

Why does the first day of vacation stand out from the rest? Why do I remember my first child’s milestones better than his siblings? Or my first vegetable garden when I was newly married?

I learned the answer after my boys were in college. I discovered Summarization in Any Subject: 50 Techniques to Improve Student Learning by Rick Wormeli. 

Research proves that we remember best what we experience first, and we remember second best what we experience last—also known as Prime 1 and Prime 2. That is why pastors, teachers, and motivational speakers begin and end with memorable scripture passages or examples.

Along the way, I should have started and ended lessons with my major points. Even more, now I should begin and end my day with what is most important.

What is your Prime 1 and Prime 2?

Memories, Parenting, Photos

Picture of the Day

Are you considering new habits for the New Year? Along the way, I learned that regular habits sometimes—well, usually—disintegrated into irregular ones. I also learned that irregular habits can still be valuable.

When my middle son went to college, his younger brother urged him to take a Picture of the Day, POTD, and email it to the family. I thought POTD was our family’s acronym, not commonly used for Poll of the Day and, more accurately, Photo of the Day.

My middle son daily emailed a POTD the first two weeks, and then sporadically the rest of his college years.  

A Junior Year POTD

My youngest took POTD seriously his freshman year. POTDs dropped off during his sophomore year. Junior year was more accurately Picture of the Week—although still labeled POTD.  Senior year became Picture of the Month.

A Freshman Year POTD

Fifteen years later, my husband and I still have the thrill of receiving emails and texts with POTD in the subject line. The frequency and regularity have decreased, but the habit continues, keeping our family connected—and sometimes amused—over hundreds of miles.

Has an irregular habit benefited you? Perhaps, kept you connected?

Memories, Parenting

Illustrations Matter

In Picture Book Revelations, I told how I vividly remembered the illustrations in Daddy’s Birthday Cakes. (See here.) I didn’t say it was approximately sixty years after I last saw that book. Therefore, why was I surprised when a son recalled illustrations from picture books I read to him thirty years ago?

As we reminisced during last night’s phone conversation, my youngest described three favorite picture books by their illustrations, not their plots: the book with the boy and his flashlight, the book with the boy wearing a blue sweater, the book with elaborately dressed animals riding in a carriage.

I pulled the described books from my bookshelves while my son searched for the covers online to confirm my guesses.

A flashlight is necessary for a successful sleep out.
Titch wore the same blue sweater during all his adventures
Piggins’ acquaintances rode in carriages. He solved mysteries.

Why did I recall all three titles within seconds?

What we see with our eyes matters. Regardless of the style, illustrations have a lasting impact—even more than I realized until an unexpected conversation with one son.

What do you visualize from your childhood?

Family, Friendship, Memories

My Sunsets

When I started, I promised myself I would never post a photo of a sunset. I had seen too many on the internet and had become insensitive to them and a bit derisive of their triteness.

And then my husband and I spent a week of evenings sitting on a fishing pier and watching the sun retreat over the water. My too numerous photos seemed perfect to share. They had to be shared. Except, I couldn’t.

I couldn’t break the promise to myself to not post sunsets. More importantly, I couldn’t because the sunsets were ours. Those not present could never experience the wondering if the clouds would break or the beautiful colors that were eventually revealed when an opening let the sunlight through. Nor could they feel the excitement if an evening predicted intense colors.

My sunset photos not only reminded me of the expectation, the surprise, and the savoring, but also the movement of the water, the breezes, the conversation, and finally, the lights of the distant town after the event was over.  

Some sharing isn’t possible, but along the way, I gained more respect for those who attempt it.

Do you risk sharing the un-shareable?

Memories, Parenting

Childhood Prepares

Today I know that memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work he will give us to do.

Corrie ten Boom

Daily we prepare our children for their future. In my Father’s House narrates how Corrie ten Boom’s childhood prepared her for the Holocaust.  (See Here for more.)

When the family faced financial difficulties and Corrie’s mother was ill, her father taught Corrie The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33: 27 (ESV). Imprisoned at Ravensbruck thirty years later, Corrie recalled the conversation and it comforted her.

The Dutch family liked reading the same Bible verse in different languages. Corrie’s sister learned John 3:16 in German and Corrie learned it in English.  They recited the German translation many times at the German concentration camp.

After a schoolteacher slapped Corrie, she was comforted by her earthly father.  That memory drove Corrie to her Heavenly father after a Nazi slapped her.

Daily childhood events with enormous adult rewards.

Which childhood experiences have prepared you for adult struggles?