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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Building Memories

Like I cannot fully explain why fathers (as they partake of symbol) are so important in the lives of children, I cannot explain how it is that building favorable childhood memories is decisively important; but surely it is.  Today I discussed with a co-worker the many memories she had of family get-togethers at her family’s cabins in Michigan.  Another co-worker is taking his family to SeaWorld tomorrow.  Again, without knowing fully why, we know that providing this experience for his children is well worth the effort.  There are many types of deprivation, but surely one price of poverty is the limited arsenal of rich images of special moments experienced in childhood and youth to buttress one in later adulthood.  A memory that I find particularly encouraging is when in the Great Smoky Mountains our family stopped our car by the road and viewed a wide stream rushing over rocks.  Why that particular image (and sound) stuck, while others have been forgotten, I don’t know.  It must have met some deep need in me in my childhood and still does today. Somehow my identity is tied up in these special moments.  They help provide me with a mysterious sense that I have been introduced to and understand beyond words something about the meaning of existence.  Wordsworth again comes to mind.

                              The Prelude

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence–depressed
By false opinion and contentious thought,
Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse–our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired;
A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.

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