Remember the good old days?

What did they look like for you? For me, summer afternoons were spent heading down to the creek to play with some of my best friends. Every day I would ride my banana seat bike up and down our cul-de-sac road. There was a dirt pile near the willow tree on a lot nearby that provided endless hours of mindless fun. My grandparents lived two doors down. They always had candy, cookies, ginger ale and some great stories to tell. I remember standing on my bed looking out my window on long summer nights, wishing I could still be playing outside.

Those were the good old days.

It’s funny to me that almost every generation looks back on the good old days with some nostalgia. Whether you are in your twenties or fifties, most of us parents yearn for times we remember that seemed simpler, less complicated and just, well, better.

Strangely, the era I’m describing as my good old days was marked by corruption in the White House, the war in Vietnam, race riots, an oil crisis and rising inflation and unemployment. I’m sure my parents felt the tension (they were immigrants trying to raise a family) and the newspapers of the time complained about how horrible things had gotten. In the 70s people longed for the 50s. But I had no clue. I was a kid. And those were the good old days.

Ever think about this? These are the good old days for your kids.

They probably don’t feel that way to you. You’re likely as stressed as you’ve ever been. Life has never seemed so complicated. Friends you know are going through family breakup and career crises. And some days you feel like you can barely hold it together.

How can you make sure these become great times for your kids, even if they don’t seem like great times to you?

Here are a few things my parents and grandparents did to help make those younger years incredible for me:

They cultivated a keen sense of family. Some of my best memories happened because people I cared about were around a lot. Cultivate a quantity of quality time.

They made small moments big.We didn’t have a lot of money to travel, so we made our own fun. We camped out in the backyard in a canvas tent. And our portable pool (that was only knee high) had a deep end caused by the shadow of the house that fell across it every afternoon. You had to be big to get into the deep end.

They lived as though there was a God in control of the world that seemed out of control. Even though the images on TV suggested otherwise, my family helped me see there was a God bigger than any problem any of us were facing. That made the days seem good, even if they weren’t.

They stayed committed to each other, and to us. There is a deep peace a child gets in knowing his family will be there for each other. I was fortunate enough to have that growing up.

What made the good old days good for you? What’s helping you forge some good seasons for your kids right now, despite everything going on around you?

careyCarey is the lead pastor of Connexus Community Church, a growing multi-campus church near Toronto and strategic partner of North Point Ministries. Prior to starting Connexus in 2007, Carey served for 12 years in a mainline church, transitioning three congregations into a single, rapidly growing congregation. Carey writes one of the most widely read Christian leadership blogs today. He is the author of “Leading Change Without Losing It” and co-author of “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity” with Reggie Joiner. He and his family live in Ontario, Canada. Find Carey on his blog or follow him on Twitter @Cnieuwhof.