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I hope my kids remember

Tiffany Lewis hopes her children remember their holiday traditions, but more than that, she hopes they remember Christ.
Tiffany Lewis hopes her children remember their holiday traditions, but more than that, she hopes they remember Christ.
Paul Maguire, Adobe Stock

Since Thanksgiving, the Christmas Choral Classics Pandora station has been playing an endless loop at our house. Every time a new song comes on I exclaim, “Oh, this is my favorite!”

To which my boys laugh and say, “Yeah, like the other 10 favorites?”

I hope my kids remember that. I hope they remember how I’d grab them by the shoulders and say, “Listen to that descant! That chord! Have you ever heard anything so heavenly?”

My boys like to tease me that I can think of a song for every occasion. If one hasn’t been written yet, I’ll compose it on the fly. They tell me it’s like living on the set of a Gene Kelly movie, except the setting is almost always the kitchen, in the vicinity of the dishwasher. I hope they remember that. I hope they sing themselves through life, and especially through a sink full of dishes, because that’s the only way to make it bearable.

The other day, my youngest son asked, “Mom, are you a hippie? 'Cause, you know, you’re always telling us to smell the flowers.”

So yeah, even though I don’t wear bell bottoms, I hope my kids remember what I’ve taught them, to look with their eyes wide open at the natural world around them. I hope they never take a sunrise for granted. I hope a forest of ferns makes them weep.

I hope my kids never lose sight of the power of a story, that they hold in their hearts the hours of audiobooks and read-alouds that accompanied their childhood. One day soon they will realize their own story, and it will connect them to their past, to their ancestors and to a future generation. They will learn that words have power. I hope they remember to wield them carefully.

I hope my kids remember that family is the training ground for grace. It's where we practice our first, and most difficult, acts of forgiveness. I hope they learn to be generous with their apologies and generous with their laughter. For certain, they will remember the times I lost my temper. I hope they also remember that I hugged them and offered an apology, time and time again.

I hope my kids remember that our home is not a place of gossip or criticism but a place where members of every race, gender and faith are valued for what they contribute to the world.

I hope my kids remember that for all the modern-day emphasis on talents and accolades, smarts and looks, what I really want most is for them to be kind. Kindness may not go far on a resume, but it will be the foundation of every meaningful relationship in life. And right now, the world needs an extra dose of kindness.

Above all, I hope my kids remember God. I hope they see him in the music, the stories, the evergreens, the eyes of a child and the kindness of strangers. I hope they take time to listen, to bow their heads in prayer and to stay committed in a world that thinks it no longer needs faith to feel fulfilled.

It is no coincidence that our family scripture begins with these words, “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the son of God, that ye must build your foundation” (see Helaman 5:12).

Every year, when my kids ask me what I want for Christmas, I tell them. I don’t need another bottle of scented lotion or dangly earrings. I have plenty of cookbooks. What I want is for them to remember.

Remember that babe born in Bethlehem, and sing his praises at the top of your lungs.

Tiffany Gee Lewis runs the website Raise the Boys at raisetheboys.com, dedicated to rearing creative, kind, courageous and competent boys. Follow it on Instagram and Twitter at raisetheboys. Email: tiffanyelewis@gmail.com