You have no doubt heard about selective hearing, which is just acknowledging what you want to acknowledge regarding what someone else has tried to communicate to you. You may not have heard of selective forgetfulness but I am sure you have experienced it. Let me try to explain.
Consider professional golfers
Professional golfers that achieve the highest level of success have the ability to forget or un-remember their bad shots and move on to the next shot. Their ability to just play one shot at a time and not be 2 or 3 or more shots or even holes ahead of themselves in their mind is what helps them perform at the highest level and win championships.
Amateur and weekend golfers, or two or three times a year golfers, like me, tend to remember our bad shots the entire round and that helps us create more bad shots to remember. One builds on another which builds on another to help us reach the high scores that remind us we are not as good as professionals, even if we did stay at a Holiday Inn Express the night before.
Of course their hours of deliberate practice, dedicated golf coaches and psychological coaches are factors also, but as Bobby Jones once said,
The professionals have learned to forget what they don’t need to remember and focus on the good shots they want to repeat, or selective forgetfulness.
Consider historical events
Historical events need to be remembered so we can learn from them and not repeat the errors or mistakes made in the past. You might not have been alive when the holocaust occurred but if this had not been removed from your history books when you went to school you probably learned about it. Twenty years ago this would probably not need to be stated but the holocaust was a horrific event that should never be allowed to happen again.
Most people maybe 15-16 years old or older remember something about 9/11/01 and the death and horror caused by the Muslim terrorists. Sadly this attack by cowards, which happened not yet 12 years ago, is fading from the consciousness or memories of many. This event is not remembered and heeded as a warning that Muslims that have the same beliefs as those terrorists still exist today and want to kill anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs as much as they did on 9/11/01.
Whenever I go through security at an airport I am reminded this event has changed how we live in America.
Many have selective forgetfulness about both of these events and think they can never happen again. However, if events such as these are not remembered they can and will happen again. History does repeat itself.
Consider political events
Congress currently has an approval rating of around 13% the last time I looked. It could be even lower by the time you read this. However, even with this ridiculously low approval rating of the job they are doing it would not be surprising to see 60, 70, or even 80% of the existing congressmen that the people are supposedly unhappy with be re-elected in their next election.
How does that make any sense at all?
This is an instance when people seem to forget why they are unhappy with the performance of their representative or senator at election time. This is due, in part to their selected forgetfulness, but also due to some local project that has received funding from a bill that has nothing to do with that project. Think pork and not “the other white meat” kind. The recent farm bill that was really a food stamp bill is just one of thousands of examples of this.
Forgive and forget?
The forgiveness often comes but the forgetting part is much harder to achieve for us mere mortals.
Often, although we say we have forgiven someone for something we hang on to that memory and pull it out again during some unrelated discussion or argument many years later.
I know I have veered off my subject a little bit here with forgiveness. Please forgive me. That will likely be another subject for another day. I am trying to focus on the forgetting part of that phrase here.
Since I am here though, the way God handles forgiveness is the example we should all strive for.
That is something I don’t believe humans can achieve but we can strive for in our relationships with others.
Meanwhile, back at the blog…
Consider life events
There is a life event I am reminded of every year about this time and it happened 29 years ago. It was Saturday, August 18, 1984, a date that is easy to remember for me. I was at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama. I was following my favorite golfer and also the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus at the PGA Championship. I remember that round pretty well. Jack hit 17 of the 18 greens in regulation but could not make a put. Well, he did make one putt and shot 1 under par 71. He went on to shoot 69 on Sunday and tie for 25th. Lee Trevino actually won the tournament that year, another of my favorites.
Funny thing is, my wife remembers that weekend pretty well too and she wasn’t even with me.
Actually she wasn’t even my wife at that particular time. She was still my fiancé and was in Enterprise, Alabama putting the finishing touches on the plans for our wedding, which would take place the following Saturday, August 25, 1984. That is how I can remember the dates so well.
She had obviously given me her blessing to go to the PGA or I would not have been there. I had complete confidence that she had everything under control with the wedding plans. However, it has been a source of conversation over the past 29 years when August comes around.
This is an event that I have not forgotten but I have learned my lesson and will never do this again. Of course I never plan to get married again either.
There are many of my life events that are marked by golf. I played quite a bit of golf between the ages of 11 and 22 and have been a spectator and fan for the most part, playing only a few times a year since then.
April 10, 2005 was the final day of The Masters and a life changing day for our family. I did not get to see the end of the final round live since it was not over before I went to church. I had a deacon’s meeting after church and Sharin, still my wife, was working the second shift in the Blood Bank at the hospital. Sarah and Amy were going to Dairy Queen, which was a traditional after church meeting place for many church members.
I had come home with our two youngest children, Rachel and Thomas, ages 10 and 9 at the time, and was eating a salad and about to watch the end of the tournament I had recorded when I received a phone call around 9:00 PM from Amy, telling me her and her sister Sarah, had been in an accident. Amy was 15 and Sarah 17 at the time. Her voice was a little shaky because she was shaken up and worried about her sister still trapped in the car on the side of a hill. I would like to be able to forget this event because I wish it had never happened but that is not possible.
I don’t want to go into any more details of this event now; maybe later. However, Sarah is writing about this now in her blog Be Careful What you Pray For if you want to read more. I highly recommend it. She is a much better writer than me.
So, how is your memory?
Memory and how good it is can be viewed from different perspectives. Being able to remember everything can be good. Being able to forget some things or selected forgetfulness can be good. It is like many other things though. We often cannot remember what we need to remember and forget what we need to forget at the time we need to do either.
Now, if I could just remember the point I was trying to make when I started this post.
Until next time…
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