We were sitting on the lip of a waterfall in a remote area due to a wrong turn.  This wrong turn along with the incoming ocean tide forced us to this unexpected place.  What we found was a spectacular roosting spot on the edge of a waterfall! This was just one of several memorable moments in a seven day backpacking adventure with my sixteen year old daughter on the famous West Coast Trail.

The trip was originally planned with a larger group of people, all of whom  backed out. We were determined to go anyways; even by ourselves! So we headed out to blaze the trail on our own. During those seven days together we made lifelong memories, shared great experiences and bonded even more deeply as dad and daughter.

Investments & Long Term Dividends

Sharing memorable moments is an investment that pays major dividends over time. These shared memories become relational glue as time passes. Often these moments are created with intentional planning, but other special memories have become part of our family biography through unplanned events. Some of my fondest family memories have been… camping and fishing trips, regular visits to a friend’s cottage, Dad’s special waffles, and teaching all four of our children to drive.

Seize the Moment

One of my most memorable “accidental” moments happened the day our oldest daughter was to go shopping for a prom dress. My wife had something come up at the last minute so with a bit of “man fear,” I filled in and took my daughter dress shopping. The moments of shared laughter, her value of my opinion, and being the only man in the store made me realize this is a VERY unique opportunity.  We had so much fun that it became an official tradition with each of our three daughters. I do not like shopping, let alone for dresses; however this was a great opportunity that created a special bonding time with each of my girls.

Memories outlive us. A close friend of mine created memorable moments with his children through a “one on one” hiking/camping trip with one child each summer. A short time ago, my friend passed away. At his funeral, each of his children mentioned these times with deep appreciation in their father’s eulogy.

Memorable moments can even be created while walking through some of life’s difficult challenges. Young drivers and car accidents, for example.  It has happened to three of our four children. When the phone call came, the first questions were: “Are you okay?” “Was anyone one hurt?” followed by, “I’ll be right there.” We wanted to communicate to our children they were more important than a damaged car.

Choose Wisely

What is a great memory for me may not be for my loved one.

While birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays can provide perfect opportunities for memorable moments, it’s important to understand what will or will not create a positive memory for someone else. For example: a few years ago I planned a surprise birthday party for my wife. In my opinion the party was a huge success. She had been surprised, the party was fun, and the food was good. Later that week she said, “Honey, thanks for the party. You did a good job. I know you enjoy a crowd of people around you; however, a really great evening for me is a special dinner with you or just one other couple.” Lesson learned.

Take Initiative

Taking initiative communicates care and value. I had another friend who surprised his wife by arranging a weekend away. She did not suspect anything till they turned off the exit to the airport. The bags were packed. The arrangements for the kids made. She enjoyed the surprise!  It doesn’t have to be this big, but taking the time in advance to lay the foundational plans for memorable moments communicates volumes about how much you care and value your loved one!

This summer think about creating memorable moments for you and your family.

  • Some may just happen, seize the moment!
  • Others will take intentional planning, so start planning!
  • Some may come in the form of a challenge, how will they be remembered?

Don’t miss these opportunities, you only have this summer once.

Related Article: We Did it Together: Memorable Moments

Written by Mike Woodard

Mike Woodard

Mike is married to Karen, he is father of 4 and grandfather of 2. Backpacking is his favourite past time. Science and theology are his educational background, a biology degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in Christian Studies from Trinity Western Seminary. Mike is the Associate Director of FamilyLife Canada. For more of his story visit familylifecanada.com/mike