Lessons Learned | Where The Boys Are, A Memory Keeping Revolution

In the States some of us are smack dab in the middle of summer while others are just a few weeks away from the start of another school year. 

Every season, every shift in routine, unsettles the steady ground we stand upon. It seems to me that some of the best lessons are learned outside of a classroom and instead are experienced in our hearts and homes. This month we share some of the lessons learned by our boys but maybe more importantly and even unknowingly by ourselves. 

Welcome to our July collaborative post. We hope that sharing our story inspires you to share yours. 

Here we go......


"I will never betray my goon dock friends / We will stick together until the whole world ends / Through heaven and hell, and nuclear war / Good pals like us, will stick like tar / In the city, or the country, or the forest, or the boonies / I am proudly declared a fellow Goony." – The Goonies

Here’s to adventure, to making memories, and to sticking together through it all.  - Lisa Truesdell

You've always had a special bond with my baby sister.  It's not that your brothers don't, but you seem to miss her more than they do, and it impacts you differently when it's time for her to go back home to AR.  I confess that I was slightly agitated by your insistence to come along when we did family photos for her last month.  It's been an adjustment for you that she's a mom now, and there's a new boy in her life.  So, when you came with us, it naturally turned into a competition. 

When you're 11, it's hard to understand love.  But after we were done, she took time to play and remind you that you're her "first best friend."  When I got home and saw this photo of you both laughing, I may have shed a few tears.  Sometimes I'm an impatient schmuck, and God reminds me in the little things that it's really not all that important that things go how I think they should.  I'm so thankful for this moment, and for the two of you.  Next time, there will be more grace in my actions, that's for sure. - Abbi Ottman

Out of the backseat came the words from my four year old, “Mom. Guess what power I just unleashed?” A few days later (in the backseat again) he was telling me how he is a scientist of everything- bodies, animals, space. And how he could handle studying people’s blood in a laboratory if he “just looked through his magnifying glass and knew what color the germ was.” Fast forward a couple days and he is gently tiptoeing through a starry carpet of moss, unwilling to break even one. He is hundreds of things at once, and counting.  - Andrea Moffatt

The daily battle of my making, and sometimes I ask myself, do I need to have it?

Computer games, games consoles, tablets, phones – it is all the bane of my life. It has a hold on my boys that ill never understand – like an addiction for them and I feel compelled to limit this at all times. I give myself a ton of grief that, if I just stopped saying “no”, I would no longer have. But seeing them there, glued to a screen with the look of a zombie on their faces just horrifies me.  And that’s why, each day, I prepare to do battle over my resourceful little people, and you know what? You actually enjoy playing football in the garden just as much, you definitely prefer to be camping in some field, or paddling in a stream with your pals with your fishing nets and sometimes you just need to be reminded of that fact. These are the memories I want you to grow up with – time in front of a screen wont be a memory, it will just be a blank. - Nina Callow

This was supposed to be the summer of lazy days by the pool but due to circumstances outside of our control you've instead been spending your summer days in a classroom.

As the person guiding you through life's experiences, the person responsible for teaching you how to be a productive citizen of the world, I know that learning to work through disappointment and adapting to unwanted change will only make you stronger and leave you with essential life skills. I know this, I do. But....as your mother who only wants sunshine and rainbows and all things good for you it hurts my heart when yours does.

Last weekend I finally got my chance to give you what you had been so looking forward to. We were the first ones to the pool and stayed much longer than I thought we would last. It was a day without hurry, everything a summer should be, and it was perfect. And maybe, just maybe, because it wasn't routine we were both able to appreciate the beauty of the day a little bit more.  - Monica McNeill

You’re truly at home on the mound. The closer. You never lose your cool and always get the job done. You’ve been known to smile when the bases are loaded. There’s nothing better than watching you do what you love. - Kelly Noel

Sharing with each other… Teaching one another… Learning to be patient...  There are more lessons than I could possibly count in having a sibling and I’m so happy you two have each other. - Donya Gjerdingen

Not a week before I took this picture, you wouldn’t go further than the steps leading into the pool. After a day you went all the way in, but only if Dad held you up high. After two days, you didn’t need him to hold you the whole time. After three, you floated around the pool on the big water toys, still careful to stay as dry as possible. After four days, you were a full participant. By the fifth day, you let Dad convince you to try the smaller floating ring, your life saver. And on the sixth day, you jumped into the water with the floating ring around your belly and kicked laps around the pool. I’m less impressed by your natural swimming abilities (though it makes the competitive swimmer in me smile) and more impressed by how quickly you realized and worked through your fears. You knew that there was something more for you. You knew there was more fun to be had and you kept working until it was yours. Keep up that confidence in yourself, my boy. - Kayla Maltese

Something magical happens each summer. I’m not sure if it’s the late, starry nights brimming with fireflies and owls, the mornings met with soft, bleary-eyes and no agenda, or the sun-drenched, friend-filled hours in between that creates this space for you to grow, mature.  No doubt there are moments I’m wistful for rocking you to sleep--your beautiful weight heavy in my arms, your sweet, warm breath on my neck in the wee hours. It all feels so close, so palpable…and yet already a million years ago. 

And yet now you empty the dishwasher instead of climbing in it. Onward, kiddo. Onward. - Jen Lucas

Little boy and the beach. This year you fell in love with the ocean. For six nights in a row, we had to beg you to come out of the water before it got too dark to see. I love that you love the beach like I do. - Amanda Caves

Your grandma was in charge of getting you to your baseball game the other day. She texted me a picture of you with your face like this and it said “Is this normal?”. I laughed and responded “Well no...but for Porter...yes”. This was your look for every game. You had to have your “eye black”. Since the day you were born you have marched to the beat of your own drum. The way you dress, do your hair...everything, you don’t give a flying flip what anyone thinks. Sometimes it’s to a fault but honestly, that is what I love most about you. I pray you never loose that confident spirit you so wonderfully possess. - Juli Jones

“If man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” ---Henry David Thoreau

Our summer manifesto: collect memories, not things.

It’s so easy to think that buying things can satisfy our souls. But it’s only temporary and it leads to wanting more stuff. I’m guilty of that, especially when I’m stressed out. When I’m not feeling good, I think that acquiring something shiny and new will fill that empty spot in my heart. But I know (we all know) it’s not true.

So I’m trying harder this summer. And I’m hoping to teach my kids that happiness can be found within oneself, and in the company of those we love.

Less things, more love. - Linda Barber

Following the guidance of your older brother, you got the courage to go on your first fairground ride.  

Brothers...a Mum's wish is for you all to just be there for each other... - Sarah Roberts

I've learned that being disappointed in people hurts more than being angry with them. I am an adult.. It's sad to say but I am used to being disappointed. I was told today that you should accept disappointments and live with them or choose to distance myself. I have chosen to distance myself because people don't change. It hurts to lose people but I know it's best for my boys and I in the long run... But if I feel such great loss and disappointment than how are my boys feeling? How do they feel when important people that they love disappear from our lives again and again? Emilio's Birthday came and past. It was just the 5 of us and we had a great day. I am learning that I have to be all they need for now... And the responsibility of that scares me sometimes. - Adriana Gomez

This 1-Second-Everyday is the only 365 project I’ve ever taken on, and the only one that I can remotely fathom my boys enthusiastically participating in.  I love that it allows me to capture their motions, demeanors, interactions, vocal inflections, the home stuff, the roadtrip stuff, the ordinary, the extraordinary.  The stories it captures are short – 1-second short! – but the memories of the moments are golden.  I don’t keep a written list of things for which I’m grateful; these videos snippets are my “list”.  That the boys say “hey, grab this for 1-second” = awesomeness.  And I can see “seasons” more easily.  This montage captures our season as this school year ends, College Kid blends back into home-not-dorm life, slower days active with books, puzzles, gaming, chores, frisbee-ing & movies…  And, as I watch, I remember, and I’m again deeply grateful for God’s grace in our daily life. - Susan Keller