A special moment with friends… and a very important message for you!
Last week we met with a family we knew from years ago. We first met them while we lived abroad. Our children were very young (3 and 4 years old). For my family and me, seeing this family again is very important.
I grew up in a small town where I knew a lot of people and they knew me. When I visit that place again, I know some of them know me. They know my story. They know where I have lived and where I went to school. We share the same memories, the same events, the same school and neighborhood. No words needed. That shaped me in a way I cannot describe.
Our children have other experiences over the years and in their young lives. They have lived in many places in different countries. They grew up in three countries. The people who have known them and recognize them as the children they were are spread out over the world. Most of them have (also) moved to different places. Some of them are living in other countries.
If they go to the place they grew up, people won’t recognize them. This is mainly because they have lived there for a shorter period and the other families have moved, also. And their own memories have disappeared or faded. Sometimes they were so young they would not recognize a thing – no one is living there anymore…. So different from what I experience when I go back to the place where I grew up.
You yourself as an adult have clear memories about your life abroad, but if your young children go back to visit it will be vague memories, based on stories you have told them or that one picture you showed them over and over again. In one way they do have memories. It is their connection to their friends. For the younger ones, on a different level, you cannot imagine how connected they were. But they were connected.
Family and friendships are a child’s universe.
Bringing our families together again means a lot to me not only because they are friends with whom I have shared a lot during a special time in my life. In a period we learned so much, as if we were college buddies. It is also special to me because of the children; they were connected, too. They shared the same classroom in which they were put without speaking the language, for example. What an experience that is. They are connected in a way we cannot imagine. It is probably because they share a feeling, an experience and they share emotions. They share the same teacher and a way of living and learning. They share a city and a country. They share memories made.
It is totally awesome to see children pick up their way of being together in the second they see each other again; even with years apart. They have grown and are in a different phase of their development. They are different now. They have changed more than the adults have changed. But they are still connected. Isn’t that wonderful? It’s amazing to experience this even after years apart from each other. They share and they care for the each other in a special way. They are connected on a level we cannot touch, imagine or describe. So cherish those moments and help make them happen.
It is so worth it to set up these moments with their friends from back then. Just let them be together for a while again; even if you have to cross borders to make this happen.
I want to ask you to think back as if you are seeing through your children’s eyes.
Who was your child playing with?
- Are they still connected?
- Do you support them reconnecting?
- Do you arrange getting back together for them?
- What will they experience when they see their friends again?
- What will they miss when they don’t see their friends any more?
I have two questions for you, too:
- What feeling would you like your children to have about their childhood friends?
- What can you do today to help them get back in contact with their friends?
Feel free to share your experiences in the field below. It will stimulate me to keep on writing these articles.
Oh and last week I created a video for you. Click on the link and find out yourself if you find something you like! The video is there to inspire you to think about the things you could do in the life you live now!