I introduce Memoir Writing to my students today, and I ask them to write down one or two examples of beautiful moments they’ve experienced.
I’m always amazed, year after year, with the types of things we remember from our childhoods. Without fail, a student’s beautiful moment has something to do with nature, friendship, God, travel, or overcoming a trial. Not once, in all my years of teaching, has a beautiful moment emerged from memories of television or video games. But the time they spend with technology (hours upon hours) would suggest that at least some tiny memory might emerge–some tangible image–that elevates the soul and provides a moment of self-discovery.
But they don’t have memories like that with technology.
Yesterday, I went to a parent / teacher conference for my kindergartner. In her journal, she was supposed to draw her “favorite moments.” She drew the swing in our front yard, the pumpkin patch, and jumping on the bed with her sister.
No favorite movies; no favorite computer games; no favorite technology experiences. I needed to see that.
|My Sea Glass Bracelet|
Just now, I visit my dear friend down the street. Her son has a collection of sea glass, rocks, and shells from a summer beach trip.
He’s teaching himself the art of jewelry making. He presents me with a handmade bracelet, woven together with wire.
I will treasure this bracelet. He tells me about the beach, about finding these shells and sea glass. It’s a beautiful moment. And he’s made this memory into a bracelet I can wear. It’s tangible; it’s real. It’s the stuff of memoir.