I have childhood memories. Okay, I don’t really remember this moment.
As I start to gather more information about how people remember their family dinners in the present, or past, a similar issues comes up. The issue of memory. Everyone has memories, some are suppressed others are celebrated. Family dinners can spark either one for a person and it depends on their experience if they value family dinners or not.
One person I talked to said the only time their family got together as a large group was over the holidays. Since this was only around New Year’s it made things very strange between the family members. For example, they didn’t quite know one another well because they did not keep in touch for the rest of the year so when they finally got together the situation became very awkward.
I can understand how this happens because I see some of my extended family only once a year too. But, I don’t get the same uncomfortable feeling. This led me to another question of “How do you define a good memory?” What is good vs bad?
For some people family dinners trigger bad memories and eating in a big group around a table may cause some anxiety because they don’t know what it is like to have a good family dinner experience. So on to the new subject of memory. Going through out daily life, we don’t have the time to think of many past experiences. We choose to forget or maybe only remember what we want to remember. However, there are some sensory reactions (touch, smell, taste, sound, sight) that trigger memories from the past. Like, Nestle Crunch bars will always remind me of my Grandpa because we would eat them together after I came home from school when I was little. And the smell of butter cookies baking in my kitchen will always remind me of Christmas. I think everyone has these types of memories but the key is to discover what they might be for the family dinner.
So it’s not just about memories but possible about the sensory reactions around family dinner. A lot of my drive comes from my past experience. I remember good times and bad times around that dinner table but I think the important thing is that they were all events that build up to my memories.