Remembering people and events that have shaped our lives is powerful. Memories mold the silhouette of our identity and culture, influencing every aspect of our lives. They push us to grow individually, in relationships and as a community.
Our identities are strengthened when we take the time to share stories and remember together. As a nation, we come together every year to remember and honor the lives lost on 9/11, often commenting “never forget” and taking action to prevent similar events.
The Harding community recently spent time remembering Dr. Ganus’ legacy and the lessons he taught. As an overly sentimental senior, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the significance and power of remembering.
While I believe there is value in living in the moment and not getting caught up on things of the past, I also believe we can get bogged down in the present when we forget to remember how our history has shaped us. I’ve recently found myself struggling to make time for anything other than the people and things that fall under school and work obligations. I’ve developed a tendency to avoid forming new friendships, especially with younger students. Yet as a leader with the Student Association (SA) and older member in other organizations, I know that shouldn’t be my attitude.
The past three years have been filled with some of the most stretching and wonderful friendships, weird and hilarious experiences, and challenging and transformative lessons. I remember meeting my first friend here and failing my first test. I remember the weird shenanigans after curfew and the sweet conversations in our tiny dorm rooms. Most importantly, I remember the people, especially the ones older than me, that took the time to know me and share their lives with me, even though I’m sure they were busy upperclassmen. These and other memories are easy for me to forget, but when I take the time to remember, I find my “stuck in the present” attitude changes.
As the SA, we also have benefited from remembering as we make our plans for the school year. There is a long history of lessons, both good and bad, that has made the SA into what we are today. There are countless rituals, lists, ideas and anecdotes that make our jobs easier and more successful, thanks to the people who had our jobs before us.
Just last year, two of my good friends, alumni Hallie Hite and Nora Johnson, made Harding history as the first female SA president and vice president duo. Remembering their leadership, with all the successes and struggles, has stretched this year’s SA’s views and leadership skills, pushing us to be better than we would have been if they hadn’t walked before us.
Remembering is powerful. It grounds you in your identity and in the community around you. Though it seems counterintuitive, remembering propels you forward, challenging you to grow from your past experiences. Though this may still seem like the ramblings of a sentimental senior, take the time to celebrate the power that remembering can have in your life.