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The Impact of Everyday Interactions

Do you ever wonder what memories your children will treasure when they become adults? Down the road, you may be surprised by what they recall.

Picture this scene: It is your daughter's 10th birthday. You want to make her party extra special. After all, she has told you every day for the past month that she is finally in the double digits and "no longer a child." You have plotted a surprise birthday party for weeks. You've invited her friends, bought snacks, hung pink and purple streamers, blown up balloons, spent hours meticulously decorating the cake and hired Sparkles the Clown. The guests arrive, and the party is a huge success.

Years later, as the two of you swap your favorite memories, your daughter mentions her 10th birthday. You assume she will rave about the beautiful cake and Sparkles' funny balloon animals, but instead she recalls how much fun it was to ride in the van with you to pick up doughnuts for breakfast. Not only were doughnuts a special treat, but the one-on-one time she had with you was also priceless. You sit dumbfounded and wonder what other simple memories she holds dear that you do not even remember.

Everyday interactions may be more meaningful than many parents realize. Most children find just as much, or even more, joy in the little things as they do in life's big events. Eating a special breakfast of chocolate-chip pancakes, picking out the perfect backpack for the first day of school and singing silly songs in the car could be the highlights of your children's younger years.

Busyness can make it difficult for parents to savor life's ordinary moments. But it is precisely those moments that your children will treasure forever.

I am speaking from personal experience: That little girl enjoying a trip to the store was me. And to this day, that simple event remains one of my favorite memories of time spent with my father.

Parental influence is strongest during the early stages of their children’s lives, up to the age of 13, during which time children are facing relentless cultural influences and competing worldviews.

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This article first appeared in the August/September 2009 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. Copyright © 2009 Allison Akey. All rights reserved.

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