How to Decode an Early Recollection to find the Message for How to Live Life.

The reason we have the memories that we remember is because they provide us with a message. As discussed in How to talk about the past, memories are blue prints for how to do life.

In order to figure out the message you need to know how to decode the memory.

Here is an Early Recollection:


I remember the strap that my father had. It was an ugly looking Tractor belt – wide and long. When one of the four of us “got the strap”, all four of us cried! That was our revenge! One afternoon when our parents were not home, my older sister and I decided to get rid of the strap once and for all. We got a spade, and some other digging tools from the garage, and dug a “BIG” hole at the very back of our large vegetable garden. We buried the strap!  It was never seen again!

Many, many years later, we did tell our parents what happened to the strap. Fortunately by then we could all have a good laugh.

Were the siblings participants or observers?

In this memory the two eldest were participants.  They weren’t just observing what was going on.

Were the siblings active or passive?

The two eldest were active.  They took action to deal with the problem.

The others were active when they all cried together.  Otherwise, they were either passive or not involved.

What was the quality of the relationship between the siblings?

They stuck together.

The two eldest took charge. They worked together as a team and acted for the good of all.  Together, they figured out what to do, when to do it, what they needed to do it, and then they carried it out.

What was the outcome – positive, negative or neutral?

What they did worked.  There were no bad consequences as a result of what they did.

The message this memory gives for how to live life:

When you have a problem in life that is affecting you and others, do something about it.  Stick together. Find one other person [or more] to help you deal with it.  Work together to find a solution that is good for all.  Plan it, get the right tools and execute it.  There likely will be no negative consequences.

What a positive recommendation for how to handle difficulties in life!

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea

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