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Tapping into your senses can help draw out memories. What is your earliest memory? How old were you? What happened? Why do you think this is the earliest event in your life that you can remember?
When I first read the thought expressed in the above illustration I did not agree. On reflection however, I believe it is true. Whilst we may not be able to remember some of our memories, I do not think they’ve been permanently erased from our memory banks. I believe they are filed somewhere within the vast reaches of our minds but we either do not know how to access them, or on some subconscious level, we do not choose to.
My early memories are incomplete. They are just fragments of different scenarios. I believe these early memories are from around 6-8 years, then there are a few later ones from when I was around 10-12ish, which is not really early I suppose.
My husband says he has clear recollections of when he was two years old. When he first told me this, I remember being utterly amazed because I can neither recall memories this early, nor so clearly. I had not realised it was even possible.
I understand some people can recall details from just a few months old and some even remember being born. And I hear some people even remember when they were swimming around in their mother’s womb! A-maz-ing!
So my memories are:
- Walking up a very long path to the front door of my home. As I walked up the path, high flower borders or hedges flanked me on either side. I believe I was coming home from school but I seem to be on my own. Not sure that would have been correct, knowing my parents, who didn’t give me/us such independence and, considering my age (between 6 or 7?), coming home unaccompanied is most unlikely.
- I have a recollection of me sitting in a class towards the end of the school day listening to the teacher at story time. I can recall the class sitting on chairs in a higgledy-piggledy fashion (we were not at desks) and the children in front of and around me listening intently to what the teacher was saying. I was distracted by a beautiful set of coloured pencils that were sticking out of a bag in front of me.
- Another vague recollection I have, is of me standing by or outside the gates of St. Mark’s School, looking into an empty playground. I may have been waiting to be collected. I don’t recall anyone else being with me. I believe it was the same school from the above scenario.
- At a much later age (maybe around 8-11yrs), I recall having a disturbing nightmare repeatedly. It may not have occurred night after night but I believe I had this same nightmare approx. 4-6 times, if not more. I don’t recall specific details – just what the nightmare had been about.
And that’s basically it. No real detail. In each of the above scenarios, I can’t recall what the weather was like, or what I was wearing. And apart from the story-time scenario, I don’t even remember whom I was with, or why I was there. Have I repressed these and other early memories? Or are they sitting in a certain section of my brain which jealously guards and refuses to release my elusive early memories?
I did a little research and experts seem to differ in their theory about early memories. Some say that after a certain age children suffer from ‘childhood amnesia’. University psychologist Dr Patricia Bauer says: “…research is showing that infants do not have the sophisticated neural architecture needed to form and hold onto more complex forms of memory.” Others feel that some early memories may have been fabricated after children were shown pictures, slides or video and the material discussed.
On reading various accounts of people’s early memories, I found it truly amazing that one person recalled being in the hospital and talking in baby language to a baby that was lying in the crib next to hers. She said they understood each other. That they had this language from inside their head.
I don’t doubt it. After all, God says that he knew us before we were even born (see Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-16). According to Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, we were in God’s heart, mind and pre-ordained plans before we arrived in this world. He says:
Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!
I still find it absolutely amazing that some children can remember such early memories and in detail. When I do read or hear about such accounts, I wish that I were one of those children.
Purpose-driven believers, before I close, if there are any negative childhood memories, which you know are still impacting your life today, why not bring them before the Lord in prayer and ask him to heal you and set you free? Our Heavenly Father, is a God who both hears and answers prayer!
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If you would like to explore the subject of early childhood memories a little further, you can check out the following links:
To read interesting accounts of people’s early memories visit: http://myearliestmemory.tumblr.com/
To see graphic survey results of 135 children’s early memories go to: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-s-your-first-memory/
For more information regarding childhood amnesia, or childhood memory visit:
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