“Memory is the residue of thought.” This is one of many great lines from presenters at the second annual online eFormation event on June 7. It was offered in a workshop on Mind Brain Education but captures well the spirit of my department, Lifelong Learning, this summer. As we navigate significant change and discern our way forward, it is essential that memories of the past, institutional and personal be recognized and honored.
Human memory is much more than ordering the facts of the past. Memory is related to, but distinct from learning. It is our ability to encode, store, retain and subsequently recall information and past experiences in our brain in order to effect and shape present behavior. What we remember gives us the ability to learn and adapt from previous experiences and to build relationships. Our memories are not stored in our brains like books on library shelves but are on-the-fly reconstructions from elements scattered throughout various areas of our brains. What we remember is shaped by the emotions that surrounded past experience.
It is no wonder then, that the process of moving the Center for the Ministry of Teaching out of Key Hall and dismantling the resource collection – taking literally every single book off its shelf – has stirred deep memories of “the way Christian education used to be.” We have been telling stories about our early days with founder Locke Bowman, and the hours of research and writing it took to publish the Episcopal Children’s Curriculum, about visions realized and dreams unmet. We have talked about our spiritual mentors, the women and men who shaped the beliefs we hold dear today. We have grieved together, laughed a lot, and recommitted ourselves to a future equipping disciples to make disciples. What memories is your summer stirring?
Lisa Kimball, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Lifelong Learning
Director of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching
Professor of Christian Formation and Congregational Leadership