The 5 things your kids will remember about you

mom kissing daughter

My wife Ashley and I just had our fourth baby. Having a new baby in the house has made me feel more nostalgic than usual and I’ve reflected back on my own childhood. I’ve thought about the memories that stick out in my mind and I think about the memories I want my own children to hold onto. I want to be intentional about every precious moment.

Jerry Seinfeld jokes that, “Babies’ sole purpose is to replace us! That’s why their first words are, “Mama, Dada…Bye Bye.”

It’s a funny joke, but also an important reminder that life is short and our time with our kids is going to go by fast. With that in mind, I want to make the most of every minute and create the kind of legacy that will endure long after I’m gone. This isn’t a morbid thought, but rather an important way to stay focused on what matters most with every minute we have with our kids.

As the Bible says, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.” Psalm 39:4

As parents, we tend to stress about things that don’t matter all that much. Our kids probably aren’t going to remember every detail of our home decor, or how perfect our landscaping looked or whether our refrigerator was stocked was name brands or generics. Let’s focus on what really matters. If you want to know what your kids will remember about you, here it is:

5 things your kids will remember about you:

1. The times you made them feel safe (or the times you made them feel unsafe).

There’s a vulnerability and a need for protection in the heart of every child. Your kids will remember those moments you chased the monsters from under their bed or held them after a nightmare, but they’ll also remember the times when your temper became the monster they feared. Our kids are probably going to see us angry sometimes, because that’s part of life, but make it your mission to make your children feel safe and secure at all times when they’re with you.

2. The times you gave them your undivided attention.

Kids measure love primarily by our attentiveness to them. The times you stop what you’re doing to have a tea party or go outside to throw a ball or jump on a trampoline with be memories etched into their minds and hearts forever. Take the time to do the little things with your kids, because in the end, they’ll be the moments that matter most.

Dave Willis quotes quote truly listen love and respect

3. The way you interacted with your spouse.

Our kids are forming their views of love in large part by watching how we treat our husband or wife. Strive to have the kind of marriage that makes them excited to get married someday. Give them the security that comes from seeing their Mom and Dad in a committed, loving relationship with each other.

seven laws of love book quote Dave Willis #7lawsoflove children parenting treat your spouse husband wife

For more on building a strong marriage and happy family, check out my brand new book The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships (by clicking here).

4. Your words of affirmation AND your words of criticism.

A child’s heart is like wet cement and the impression made early in life will harden over time. They’ll base their sense of identity, capability and even self-worth largely upon the words you speak to them in those formative years. Part of our job as parents is to correct and discipline, but even in correction, let your words be full of love, encouragement and positive reinforcement.

Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already. Dave Willis quote

5. Your family traditions.

Kids love spontaneity, but they also have  deep need for predictability. They’ll remember with great fondness the “traditions” you establish whether it’s a weekly family movie (or game) night, a place you regularly travel for family getaways, the way you celebrate birthdays and special events or any other special tradition. Be intentional about creating some traditions that they’ll want to pass onto their own children someday.

For more tools to help you build a happy and healthy family, you can connect with me on Facebook by clicking here and check out my brand new book The Seven Laws of Love.

Dave Willis quote seven laws of love #7lawsoflove book relationships

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Doing Good Together

    Great advice! We agree, the words we speak aren’t nearly as important as the examples we model for our children. Actions do indeed speak louder than words.

  • corey magin

    Truth. Focus on yourself and your spouse and everything else will fall in to place. Sure – words of wisdom will help them on their journey but nothing speaks louder than our actions.

  • Jessica Ashby

    Love it! Too many times as a parent we focus on whether the house is cleaned, or our busy schedules. Thank you for the reminder that what matters most are the memories we make and the love we share as a family.

  • Tammy

    I think smells will be an important memory. I know I connect them with times in my life.

  • Margaret Ann Snow

    celery and onions — Thanksgiving mornings

  • pepperplane

    What a super article. Plenty of food for thought and encouragement.

  • Killer B

    What do YOU remember about your childhood & parents? Those are the things that your children will most likely remember as well.

  • stephaniejane81

    This article hit the nail on the head b/c its exactly what I desired as a child growing up. And its been in my heart to strive to do these things for my son. Its possible to do these things consistently, although not perfectly–only by the grace of God though.

  • Stephanie Brooks

    great article unless you don’t have a spouse.

  • I’mNotInCharge

    Still a great article despite marital status, unless you really can’t pull anything from it.

  • CAmom760

    Well, that’s the perspective he’s writing from. Perhaps you could write one from the non-spouse perspective. See how that works?

  • Les

    Except that “positive reinforcement,” from a psychological perspective, does not necessarily mean “positive.” It is adding a factor of conditioning. Adding can refer to punishment. It’s a misused term that irritates me lol

  • Napoleon Nalcot

    Great article no matter what. The time we gave our children our undivided attention, in my humble opinion, is perhaps why they can’t forget us as their parents.

  • fromperpig

    This is for “great dog” owners…

    Ever wonder why your pooch loves you, always lites up when you come home from work, never refuses a walk in the park and crawls into bed with you every night? It’s simple: Because dog’s don’t know how to use a toilet, they can’t fry up an egg and they can’t work a door knob (to let themselves out). And, because they rely solely on your care and love, you are required to “invest” in them, 24-7-365.

    Great parents perform daily “maintenance” for the well being of their children, every single day!!!!!…even if their kids are old enough to care for themselves. Because, kids can’t pat themselves on the back, offer words or encouragement or hug themselves when they’re feeling down. Great parents don’t try to buy their kid’s love. Love must be earned. If you don’t put in the time and effort, everyday, just like you do for your pooch, don’t expect your kids to show you must love, loyalty………or come (home) when you call them, either.