We took our youngest child to the zoo yesterday. It was her first time. As we walked up and down the seemingly endless winding path, the unseasonably chilly wind forced us to huddle. I was in heaven.
It was at exactly that point that I realized something, something that threatened to dampen the joy of my grey, damp, and perfect day: My little one will never remember any of it. None of it. Not the zebra, the lion, or the monkey. She will be shown pictures when she is older, but none of it will ring a bell. She will pretend to remember, but she won’t.
The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. As parents, we want to believe that everything we do will have a lasting impact on those around us – especially our kids. We put all this time and energy into making memories, but we have no control over what will be remembered and what will not. This thought stayed with me all night last night as I tried to sleep.
Then, out of nowhere, Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” came crashing into my head and everything started to make a bit more sense. What we are doing as parents is similar to using bricks to build a wall. Modern education is filled with hit-and-miss (mainly miss) theories on human development. My very amateurish theory is that people are like brick walls.
Every day, and even every hour, is a brick in the development of you and me. Every event can be a positive or a negative brick in this wall. The truth is that only a few bricks tend to stand out in a wall made entirely of bricks. Not to dive too deep into it, but it would make sense to call these outstanding bricks memories.
My daughter won’t remember yesterday. She won’t remember today, either. But strong and well-placed bricks were laid, without a doubt.