I had a thought as I sat and watched my son and daughter dancing to Encanto. Our children are busy creating all of their core memories now, right in front of us. Think back on your childhood, what do you remember fondly? For me, it was Aladdin, Mario Party, Fable and the Spice Girls. Right now, there is some major Harry Potter controversy with the release of Hogwarts Legacy, but I can guarantee most of my classmates look back on the books and films with vivid memories. It got me wondering, what are my kids doing now that they will look back on? Will their earliest childhood memories be as pleasant?
Of course, they will. Emotional events—especially happy ones—will stick with them. But let’s look at what they could be and how our choices are impacting them. My children aren’t major movie buffs. They are happier with YouTube and YouTube Kids right now. All of these wacky creator videos and toy unboxings don’t seem like much to me, but it’s looking more and more like this is going to remain a big part of our lives for years to come. That being said, my daughter learned the song Let It Go from Frozen long before she saw the movie, and now I’ll catch her singing it to her dolls.
Frozen and Encanto are probably two of the most influential Disney movies of the last decade (maybe more), so much so that even I have found myself singing their songs and quoting the movies in my daily life. I tried my best to get them to see Aladdin and The Wizard of Oz, both movies that took me back to my childhood, the latter bringing back sweet memories of my father calling me no matter where I was when it was on TV just to let me know. It’s still a really happy memory, even years later. Does this mean that in 20 years, my children will do the same with these new movies?
“Our children are busy creating all of their core memories now, right in front of us.”
This doesn’t just extend to film, though. With Nintendo Switch Online, Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus, we have been able to bring our kids into the gaming universes we all started in. Watching my son try to play Super Mario Bros when he was four was a sight to see, it took me back to my earliest memories of playing the SNES with my dad, but my son never fell in love with it the way we did. He now knows the character, and thanks to plenty of media surrounding Mario, he is excited about the Mario movie, something I know many parents my age are looking forward to sharing with this next generation.
Goldeneye 007 just launched as well. That game brings me back to a really joyful memory with my brother. I can still hear him calling out, “I am Boris,” as he destroyed me in each match. It was the one time we really got along as kids, so it is hard for me to decide if the game was just that good or if I’m looking at it through rose-coloured glasses because of the situations tied to it.
Where I had Mario Party, Fable, and eventually Oblivion, my kids have Minecraft, Fortnite and Roblox. I genuinely hope these games are still alive and well when they have their own families and can take their children into the worlds they built themselves. Adults always have their “remember when” moments and their glory days, and I can’t wait to see which ones my children take into the future with them.
“Maybe they make those core memories gaming with their cousins or playing online with their dad.”
Gaming is almost always a group event for them now. Where we had a lot of couch co-op games, they were usually very linear, and a lot of the time, someone was sitting there not so patiently waiting for their turn. Now, in these massive MMOs, anyone can play with anyone from anywhere. Maybe they make those core memories gaming with their cousins or playing online with their dad. I can see my son’s face light up when someone joins his party, and I’m often asked to “text Uncle to see if Rhys can play” if he’s not already online waiting.
At five months apart, my son and nephew are basically being raised like brothers. If one of us has one, the other isn’t far behind. My niece and daughter are nine years apart and have bonded deeply. It fills me with pride to see them find these beautiful family moments and core memories, and I hope they don’t lose that closeness as they grow up.
Just this week, my sister-in-law asked if she could steal my kids for a while to build a Mark Rober box. However, I’m clearly out of touch as I had to ask, “What’s a Mark Rober?” but it was yet another case of YouTube creating core memories for my kids while they find interactive things to do, based around some of their favourite mediums. The same goes for Mr. Beast with his chocolate line and restaurant. We had to try both, and these will be small things they look back on when they’re older.
We are also in the era of childhood coming back into play. Take a look at any store that caters to pre-teens, and you’ll see platform shoes, bell bottoms and chokers being sold again. I used to hate it when my mom would say, “I had that when I was a teenager,”—somehow, that is one of my core memories— but now I find myself doing the same thing every day. Our music is on repeat as well, with Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Fallout Boy, and somehow even Linkin Park making a comeback.
As I mentioned earlier, Hogwarts Legacy is bringing us back into the Harry Potter universe with some complicated feelings, but this resurgence is true for so many other franchises like Star Wars, too. While we are sharing something important to us with our children, these could very well be the same individual memories they share with their children one day too. New games, cartoons, movies and shows are released daily, too, many of which will remain core memories within our children, so pay attention to what they’re watching.
Our children are making lifelong, self-defining memories—now—make sure their core memories end up good ones.