Your Students and Their Memories

Last night was the Love Feast, and it was everything magical I remembered it to be (and then some).  It is a wonderful, wonderful campus tradition.  You can view the Love Feast program here.

When my family and I arrived at Wait Chapel, I posted on Facebook that I was at the Love Feast and immediately got several “likes” from college friends.  They made these comments:  “SO wish I was there!” “Now THAT brings back memories … wish I was there, too!” “I wanna come with you… My former hall mates !!! :-)” and “So beautiful. Definitely in the top 5 of my favorite WFU traditions.”   The memories of the Love Feast are strong – even for my friends who are 20 years out from our graduation.

I’ve been thinking a lot about college and memories, and the role that parents play in those memories (even when you don’t realize you are playing a role at all!)  When I was in college, my mother (an excellent cook) used to send me tins of homemade Christmas cookies to share with my friends.  She had one cookie that she specialized in – a shortbread type cookie with red sprinkles on the edge.  She sent us many, many care packages, and over the four years here my friends had quite a few of mom’s red cookies.

I had posted on Facebook about a week ago that I was making a batch of Christmas cookies, and my former roommate and best friend commented: “Are you making those cookies that your Mom used to send us–the sugary ones with the red glittery thingees on the side?  It is not an exaggeration to say that I dream about those cookies….”

Her post took me totally by surprise.  I had no idea that she remembered those cookies, let alone remembered them so fondly.  And yet somehow the memory of those cookies, and all of us huddled around the floor of our dorm room eating them, figured prominently into her happy memories of her time at Wake.

Parents – you have no idea how you are going to positively impact your student’s friends’ experiences while in college.  It could be that you took them out with you to dinner when you were in town, or maybe you have your own signature cookie or treat you send your student in care packages (and he or she is kind enough to share), or the fact that you take the time to listen and be supportive when you saw your student’s friends in person.  Even 20 years later, you might still be figuring into some student’s happy memories of Wake Forest, just because of something you said or did.

So my message is this: send those cookies, those Valentine cards, or whatever might be your special way of showing affection to your student and his or her friends!!  Not only will it make you feel good doing it, but you could be planting the seed of a loving memory that student will reminisce about 20 years later, with the same rapt devotion my friend Cristy feels about the red cookies.

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