Childhood Essay for Students and Children

500+ words essay on childhood.

Childhood is the most fun and memorable time in anyone’s life. It’s the first stage of life which we enjoy in whatever way we like. Besides, this is the time that shapes up the future. The parents love and care for their children and the children to the same too. Moreover, it’s the golden period of life in which we can teach children everything.

Childhood Essay

Memories of Childhood

The memories of childhood ultimately become the life long memory which always brings a smile on our faces. Only the grownups know the real value of childhood because the children do not understand these things.

Moreover, Children’s have no worries, no stress, and they are free from the filth of worldly life. Also, when an individual collects memories of his/her childhood they give a delighted feeling.

Besides, bad memories haunt the person his entire life. Apart from this, as we grow we feel more attachment to our childhood and we want to get back those days but we can’t. That’s why many people say ‘time is neither a friend nor a foe’. Because the time which is gone can’t come back and neither do our childhood. It is a time which many poets and writer praises in their creations.

Importance of Childhood

For children, it has no importance but if you ask an adult it is very important. Moreover, it a time when the moral and social character of the children develop. In this stage of life, we can easily remodel the mindset of someone.

Also, it is very important to understand that the mindset of children can be easily altered in this time. So, we have to keep a close eye on our children.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

What Should You Do in Childhood?

In childhood, one should need to enjoy his/her life without any worry. It is a time in which one should have to take care of his diet, his health, and immunity. Besides, the children should be taught to be neat and clean, to eat, read, sleep, play, and to do exercise regularly and these things should be in the habits of the child.

Moreover, we should try to influence children to start productive habits such as reading, writing that should help them in later life. But the books they read and what they write should be carefully checked by the parents.

Care for Everyone

Children are like buds, they care for everyone equally without any discrimination. Also, they are of helpful nature and help everyone around them.

Moreover, they teach everyone the lesson of humanity that they have forgotten in this hectic lifestyle of this world. Besides, these children are the future of the country and if they do not grow properly then in future how can they help in the growth of the nation .

In conclusion, we can say that childhood is the time that makes our adulthood special. Also, children’s are like pottery vessels whom you can shape in any way you like. Besides, this their innocence and helpful nature gives everyone the message of humanity.

Most importantly, they learn by either making mistakes or seeing their elders.

FAQs about Childhood

Q.1 Why childhood is the best period of life? A.1 It is the best time of life because the memories that we make in our childhood always brings a smile on our face. Also, it is the time when the character of the child is shaped. Besides, it also is the best time to understand life and gain knowledge.

Q.2 What is the most important characteristics of a child? A.2 According to me, the most important characteristics of a child is his innocence and helpful nature.

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My Childhood Memories Essay - 100, 200, 500 Words

  • Essay on My Childhood Memories -

Memories are one of the most important things we cherish throughout our lives. All our knowledge and previous experiences are stored there, so they build our personality. Memories can be good or bad. There are memories from the distant past or the more recent past. In times of crisis, we can refresh ourselves by recalling good memories.

100 Words Essay on My Childhood Memory

200 words essay on my childhood memory, 500 words essay on my childhood memory.

My Childhood Memories Essay - 100, 200, 500 Words

Childhood memories always bring smiles to our faces because of the innocence that lies within them. People feel happy when they think about and discuss these memories.

One of my strongest childhood memories is playing in the park with my best friend. We would spend hours there, running and playing on the swings and slides. The sun would beat down on us as we giggled and chased each other, and our laughter echoed in my mind even now. We would also play games of tag and hide and seek and always have fun. I remember feeling so carefree and happy in those moments, with no worry. These memories of playing in the park with my best friend bring back feelings of pure joy and innocence, and I will always treasure them as some of my fondest childhood memories.

Memory is an interesting and important part of our lives. When I look back on my childhood, I recall many stories. Some make me happy, and others help me learn and grow.

Summer At My grandparents

One of my fondest childhood memories is spending summers at my grandparents' house in the countryside. The lush green fields and tall trees surrounded the house, and I loved going on adventures with my cousins through the fields and woods. We would spend hours playing hide and seek, building forts, and catching fireflies at night.

My grandfather was always around, tending to the garden or working on some new project. He taught me how to fish in the nearby stream, and we would spend hours together on the bank, chatting and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

The days at my grandparents' house seemed to stretch forever, filled with laughter and joy. The house was always filled with the scent of fresh baked goods, and my grandmother would spend hours in the kitchen whipping up delicious meals. I will always treasure these memories of spending time with my grandparents and cousins in the peaceful countryside. They are a reminder of the simple joys in life and make me grateful for the people and experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today.

Childhood memories are an essential part of our life. The happiest, most incredibly unforgettable childhood memories are the ones that are hard to forget. The best part of childhood is spending it with other children. Childhood memories are the sweetest of all memories; they are a collection of happy moments that stay with us forever.

There are many memories that I have forgotten, but there are some that I can easily recall. Those are golden memories, and time has become precious. Childhood is the most exciting and beautiful time in our life. We were at a stage in our life free from worries and problems.

Why do childhood memories matter?

Childhood memories play an important role in our lives. They shape our destinies and our outlook on life. What a person learns as a child usually stays with them. From childhood, he is taught the importance of discipline, punctuality, ethics and values, and then these values will accompany him throughout his life. Childhood memories are strongly influenced by family and its values, experiences, and interests. They often reflect a child's early ability to remember things.

They range from the mundane to the elegant, the funny to the touching, but most of them are vague and elusive, often irrelevant, and sometimes downright unnatural.Childhood memories shape one's identity and provide comfort and familiarity. They also serve as a source of nostalgia, reminding us of happy times and special moments that bring joy and a feeling of connection to the past. They also help us understand our family history, cultural background, and experiences that have shaped us into who we are today.

My Childhood Memory

One of my most memorable childhood memories is playing with my friends in my neighborhood. I grew up in a small village surrounded by lush green trees and rolling hills. My friends and I would spend hours exploring the woods, building forts, and playing games. We were always outside, regardless of the weather, and we never seemed to run out of things to do.

One of our favorite games captured the flag. We would divide into two teams, each with their own flag that they would hide. The game's objective was to capture the other team's flag and bring it back to your base without getting tagged. The games would last for hours and were always filled with laughter, screams, and running.

Another memory I have is of baking cookies with my grandmother. She lived next door to us, and every time we visited, she always had some baked treat waiting for us. My sister and I would help her mix the ingredients, roll out the dough, and cut out the cookies. Then, we would watch as they baked to perfection in the oven. The smell of freshly baked cookies would fill the entire house, and it was a smell I would always associate with my grandmother.

These memories are special to me because they represent my childhood's carefree and joyful times. They remind me of the importance of spending time with loved ones and enjoying the simple things in life. I am grateful for these memories and how they bring a smile to my face every time I think about them.

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Best Childhood Memories Essay Ideas: 94 Narrative Topics [2024]

Many people believe that childhood is the happiest period in a person’s life. It’s not hard to see why. Kids have nothing to care or worry about, have almost no duties or problems, and can hang out with their friends all day long.

An essay about childhood gives an opportunity to plunge into your memories. All you need to do is recollect those happy days and write a brilliant essay! In this article by , you’ll find great tips and topic ideas to kickstart the process.

  • 🔝 Top 10 Topics
  • 💡 Coming Up with Ideas
  • 🧸 Childhood Memories Essay Topics
  • ✍️ Writing Examples & Guide
  • 🔍 References

🔝 Top 10 Childhood Topics to Write About

  • Your favorite holiday memory.
  • Your brightest memories of winter.
  • Your earliest school memory.
  • Your first visit to a farm.
  • What was your favorite toy?
  • Do you remember your granny’s kitchen?
  • Your childhood memories of your parents.
  • Your best childhood friend.
  • Things that you initially disliked at school.
  • Experiments with physics in childhood.

💡 Coming Up with Childhood Memories Essay Ideas

Perhaps you got lost in your memories and cannot choose the best one to describe in your essay. Or maybe you have a bad memory and cannot recollect something specific to write about. If that’s the case, here are some recommendations for you.

Childhood Memories List: How to Write

Don’t know where to start? Try creating a list of your memories to decide which ones you need for your paper.

The picture shows examples of  what to include in a childhood memories essay.

There are our top tips on making a childhood memories list:

  • Write down everything that comes to your mind. What are some significant memories from your childhood? Every little experience starting with your earliest memory matters. Of course, you don’t need all of this information for your essay. Still, it will help your brain to start working in the right direction.
  • Try to focus on specific things such as holidays, trips, or food. Everybody’s favorite childhood memories are often connected with them. Remarkable events also might include school, neighborhood, hometown, presents you received, and your achievements. Nostalgia is your best friend in this case.
  • Divide your memories into categories. Good childhood experiences such as receiving a dream present or adopting a pet belong to one category. Life-changing events, key achievements, and unfortunate accidents can go into other categories.
  • Try not to avoid bad childhood memories. It’s not the most pleasant thing in this task. But sometimes, writing about bad situations or challenges is a good strategic decision for your paper. It can also help your personal growth.

How to Remember Childhood Memories

What is your earliest memory? A frightening fall down the stairs? Or perhaps blowing candles on your second birthday? Whatever the content, it is probably short and vague.

When we grow older, our recollections of early childhood become fragmentary . In fact, a profound memory loss occurs, which psychologists call infantile amnesia (you can learn more about it from the article “ New perspectives on childhood memory ”). Memories formed during early childhood are more fragile than those formed later in life.

That’s why it’s a great idea to write down our childhood recollections. This way, they’ll stay with us even after they lose their rich vividness and start to fade altogether.

Naturally, you can’t keep everything in your head. Some childhood memories will stay with you forever, while others vanish during your teenage years. Remembering something you have forgotten is not an easy task.

Here’s a way out: use this checklist to recall your childhood experiences:

Feeling completely out of ideas? Or maybe you can’t think of a specific topic? Keep reading to learn how to generate new ideas and write a great childhood memories essay.

🧸 Childhood Memory Essays Topics List

Favorite childhood memory ideas.

  • Meeting Santa at a mall
  • A gift you’ve created yourself
  • First time you stayed up all night
  • Your first visit to an amusement park
  • Your favorite children’s book or comic
  • Your best childhood camping memory
  • The craziest fact you’ve learned as a child
  • Memory about winning a school competition
  • What was the most fun school assignment?
  • Your favorite food at the elementary school cafeteria

Early Childhood Memories Essay Topics

Kindergarten is often the place where kids start socializing for the first time. Think about your experiences with friends and teachers, as well as with your family. These topic ideas will help you get on the right track:

  • The first day in kindergarten . Kindergarten is a new world for a child. It has an unfamiliar environment, new people, and rules. This essay can aim at discussing feelings and expectations that accompany a child on their first day.
  • Describe the first pet you had in early childhood. Almost all families have a pet that they love. Often pets are given to children as presents. This essay can relate the best moments spent with a pet when you were little.
  • A relative who was closest to you in early childhood. Every child has a family member with whom they enjoy spending time. It could easily be a parent, a grandparent, a sibling , or perhaps an uncle. Write about exciting moments related to your beloved relatives.
  • Your first childhood hobby . Most people had hobbies when they were kids. This initial interest sometimes determines one’s future occupation. Here, you can describe the activities you used to do as a little child. Focus on the events associated with your first hobby.
  • Festive events in kindergarten . During the whole year, people celebrate many holidays. Naturally, kindergartens hold festive events to amuse children. This essay can portray the unforgettable celebrations in kindergarten .
  • Describe family gatherings from your childhood.
  • A typical day in your kindergarten.
  • What’s the first birthday celebration you remember?
  • Activities or games in kindergarten .
  • Your first Halloween costume.
  • Things that you didn’t like in kindergarten.
  • Write about your relationship with nature in early childhood.
  • Describe a performance you took part in when you were little.
  • What was the best teacher in your kindergarten like?
  • Discuss the book or story you loved the most in early childhood.

Elementary School Memories Essay Topics

Would you like to look back at your elementary school days? This section is just what you need. Check out these ideas and get inspired:

  • How you met your first teacher. Teachers lead children through a complicated yet exciting path. That’s why we all remember our teachers, especially the first day of meeting them. This essay can recount the brightest moments associated with this event. Additionally, you might describe the teacher’s appearance and personality .
  • The most challenging lesson in elementary school. You can probably recall numerous lessons from your school years. This essay can aim at describing positive and negatives aspects of studies, as well as your favorite classes.
  • Memories about extracurricular activities in school. It could be sports, artistic pursuits, or activities related to specific subjects. Describe your personal preferences and say who inspired you to start doing them.
  • Celebration events at school. Celebrations create the brightest and most joyful memories. In this essay, you can share personal experiences about such events, be it school performances, shows, or games.
  • Who was your best school teacher ? Describe the personalities of your favorite teachers and explain why you liked them.
  • Write about a person who helped with school lessons .
  • What did your first school building look like?
  • Describe what you daydreamed about in school.
  • Wonderful hikes or trips organized by the school.
  • What were your plans for the future growing up?
  • Write about going to a museum with your class.
  • Memories of participation in school sports activities.
  • Recall your participation in writing for a school newspaper .
  • Did you take part in any important school activities or events?

Happy Childhood Memories Essay Topics

When writing about your childhood, you’d probably prefer recalling happy events rather than sad ones. But what if you don’t know which pleasant memory to choose? This list will help you make up your mind!

  • The best birthday party ever. Recall the most exciting details associated with it. For example, describe some beautiful presents and a celebratory atmosphere.
  • The day you’ve met your first love . Write about the impressions, feelings, and the most treasured memories associated with that day.
  • Recall the best day spent with your childhood friend. Recount the activities and events that made you happy.
  • The most significant achievement in childhood. Recall your achievements connected with the studies, sports, or arts. You can start by describing the task you’ve had, explain its importance, and thank the people who helped you.
  • The day you made somebody happy . This essay can describe the instances where you helped others. What were your motivations, and why did it make you happy?
  • Describe the best school gathering you can remember. Schools often organize parties where students can have fun. This essay can recount the circumstances and special moments related to such a party.
  • Recall a fictional character you liked the most in childhood.
  • Write about the best present you gave to someone when you were little.
  • Describe the best surprise made by friends or relatives in childhood.
  • The most wonderful journey or trip in childhood.
  • A sad event that changed things for the better.
  • What were the happiest summer holidays in your childhood like?
  • Chronicle the day when your childhood dream came true.
  • Write about your childhood fear and how you overcame it.
  • Tell about getting a good grade for an important assignment.
  • Describe the first home where your family lived.

Funny Childhood Memories Essay Ideas

Writing about a funny event is perhaps the best option you can choose. You’ll enjoy describing it, and your readers will appreciate you for making them laugh! Here are some prompts to kickstart the creative process.

  • Recollect your childhood actions that make your relatives laugh. Children often behave in interesting, comical, and amusing ways. This essay can detail some fun moments that your parents remember.
  • Amusing and funny moments in your favorite cartoons . You probably remember many great cartoons from your childhood. What made them funny? Do you still find them entertaining?
  • The funniest pranks you did at school. If you were a mischievous child, this topic is for you. Recall various funny, elaborate, or even failed pranks you did at school.
  • Describe the first time you rode a bicycle . Learning to ride a bike is a staple of many childhoods. It’s challenging, but once you master it, you will never forget how to ride it!
  • What tricks used to help you pass difficult exams? Usually, students make cribs or copy someone else’s answers. You can describe more creative ways of passing exams.
  • Poking fun at younger siblings . If you have brothers and sisters, you probably tease each other. How do you feel about such activities? Do you both have a good laugh, or did somebody get upset?
  • Playing superheroes in childhood. Many children have favorite superheroes such as Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, and others. What were your personal favorites? Did you try to imagine you have superpowers?
  • Describe the most ridiculous haircut you’ve had when you were little.
  • Funny moments with your school teachers.
  • Did you have an imaginary friend? What were they like?
  • Trying to cook in childhood.
  • What tricks did you use to hide bad marks from your parents?
  • Attempts to renovate your childhood room.

Childhood Christmas Memories Topics

Christmas is the favorite holiday of many children. Were you one of them? Choose your essay title from this list on Christmas memories:

  • What is the best Christmas present from your childhood? Describe the present, the wrapping, and your emotions related to it. Why did you want it so much? You can also try to remember where this present is now.
  • Describe a family Christmas trip that you enjoyed the most as a child. Answer the following questions. What were the new places you have seen? What were the new people you met? How much time did you spend there? Did you feel homesick? What did you feel when you returned home?
  • What was your favorite pastime during the Christmas holidays in childhood? For example, you can write about watching cartoons or playing with your siblings. Or maybe you enjoyed winter sports and walking with your friends.
  • Was Christmas your favorite holiday in childhood? Explain why or why not. Create a list of the things that you did and didn’t enjoy. You can also compare Christmas with other holidays. Find several arguments to defend your opinion.
  • Describe the best Christmas present you gave somebody in childhood . It can be something you made yourself or bought. Explain why you chose this gift and what was the recipient’s reaction. What did you want to show with this present? Was it your idea to give it? How did you choose it? Answer these questions in your essay.
  • What are your favorite Christmas memories ? You have a wide choice here. You can describe family get-togethers, receiving or giving presents, eating sweets, or having fun while resting from school.
  • Describe your favorite childhood Christmas photo . Explain why it is so valuable to you. Define the people or objects in the picture. Try to remember who took it and what camera was they used. Also, provide some information about the time and place.
  • Write about your family’s Christmas traditions .
  • Describe your favorite Christmas decorations in childhood.
  • When was the time you stopped believing in Santa Claus?
  • What was your favorite Christmas movie in childhood?
  • Write about the Christmas dishes did you enjoy the most as a child.
  • What was your favorite Christmas TV special ?
  • What were your favorite Christmas songs when you were little?
  • Describe the perfect Christmas Eve of your childhood.
  • Tell about the friends you liked to invite to your Christmas parties.

These recollections can form a great foundation for your essay. Because childhood is often the best time in a person’s life, writing essays on your childhood experiences can be a real pleasure. If you try to be creative and choose a unique topic, you are sure to succeed in writing an impressive essay.

✍️ “My Childhood Memories” Essay Writing Guide

Writing about your childhood is an exciting assignment that has some peculiarities. Let’s explore some of them.

Childhood Memories Essay: Dos and Don’ts

Your main task is to make the reader feel like they’ve experienced the memory you described. There are certain elements that you can include in your essay to make it stand out. Similarly, some things are better to avoid.

Keep these things in mind, and you will surely write a perfect composition.

Childhood Memories Essay: Step by Step

Follow these steps of the essay writing process, and you will see that writing a good essay on your childhood memories is not as challenging as it may seem.

The picture shows the main steps in writing a childhood memories essay.

Narrative Essay on Childhood Memories: Outline

Every essay must have a proper structure. That’s why it’s useful to make a short outline before you start writing. It will keep you from losing your way as you write your essay. It also saves you time! If you have a plan, you won’t miss any important points in your essay.

Your paper should include:

After you’ve finished writing, revise and edit your essay . Make sure your paragraphs are written in a logical order. Read your essay aloud so that you can see how it flows and determine where you need to improve it.

Try our memory-activating prompts and follow these writing tips to compose your perfect childhood memories essay! If you’re not sure that you can write a good paper on your own, you can always ask our experts to help you out.

Further reading:

  • School Days Essay: How to Describe a Memorable Event
  • Growing Up Essay: Great Ideas for Your College Assignment
  • Writing Essay about Someone Who has Made an Impact on Your Life
  • Excellent Remembering a Person Essay: Free Writing Guidelines
  • Life Experience Essay: How to Write a Brilliant Paper

🔗 References

  • The Fate of Childhood Memories: Children Postdated Their Earliest Memories as They Grew Older
  • Can You Trust Your Earliest Childhood Memories?: BBC
  • How to Start Writing Your Own Childhood Memories for Posterity: HobbyLark
  • 650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing: The New York Times
  • Bright Side Readers Shared 14 Childhood Stories and We Plunged Into Their Memories Together: Brightside
  • Great Questions: StoryCorps
  • Introductions and Conclusions: University of Toronto
  • Make a List: Childhood Memories: Practical Parenting
  • Tips to Retrieve Old Memories: Harvard University
  • Make the Most of Your Memory: 10 Tips for Writing About Your Life: Writer’s Digest
  • Childhood Christmas Memories: DNA Explained
  • What Do Your Earliest Childhood Memories Say about You?: The Conversation
  • Can’t Remember Your Childhood? What Might Be Going On: Healthline
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✍️Essay on Childhood: Samples in 100, 150 and 200 Words

my childhood essay

  • Updated on  
  • Nov 2, 2023

Essay on Childhood

Essay on Childhood: How was your childhood? I bet it was full of adventure, fun and joyful activities. Agatha Christie has rightly said – ‘One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood.’ Childhood memories are considered one of the most beautiful days one can ever experience in their life. Those are the days one can never forget. Well, no amount of words can describe those good old days. Today we will highlight the importance of childhood with some essays on childhood which you can use anywhere.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Importance of Childhood
  • 2 Essay on Childhood in 100 Words
  • 3 Essay on Childhood in 150 Words
  • 4 Essay on Childhood in 200 Words

Importance of Childhood

Childhood is life’s early stage of development where growth and changes rapidly take place A child needs to be nurtured and loved by all their family, friends, and teachers around him. At the same time, the child must have a healthy childhood to have a better mental health lifelong.

Childhood is that stage where young children get to learn about themselves as well as their surroundings. Early childhood is the best time to learn about developing good habits that will help them shape their future and at the same time be good human beings. Children should get into the habit of eating healthy food, getting fresh air, drinking plenty of water and finally doing a lot of exercise. By doing so, this will help them to grow into resilient adults who will be able to handle any situation.

Moreover, a child’s childhood is that period of their lifetime when they get to develop their personalities. Also, it is the time when they must be exposed to a variety of situations to develop into responsible people. It is important to remember that childhood is a time when children learn from their experiences and mistakes, explore various opportunities and create memories from them. 

Also Read: Essay on the Importance of the English Language for Students

Essay on Childhood in 100 Words

Childhood is that period when a child is considered to be one of the most carefree and joyful. In this period, a child has a lot of innocence, an unlimited number of opportunities and is naive. 

Some of the best childhood memories one can have are learning new things, playing with their friends, spending time with their family and finally learning skills which will help them lifelong. We all can recall those days when we used to play various types of games with our friends in the evening after school. The excitement of finishing our studies and going out, those days of watching our favourite TV shows can never be forgotten. 

Apart from all the fun days, childhood is the best time for personal development. We pick up the skills necessary such as communication skills and engage with the world. Each of us develops our distinct interests.

Also Read: Essay on Save Environment: Samples in 100, 200, 300 Words

Essay on Childhood in 150 Words

We all remember that magical period of our lives- Childhood. It was that time of our lives when the world around us was full of excitement when we were surrounded by our close ones and had nothing to worry about. Those days when all we had to do was study, meet friends, go to school and play outside. We all had created our exciting worlds. 

One of my most treasured childhood memories is, spending time with family and friends. Those days when we would visit our grandparent’s house, listening to stories during vacations is another of the best memories. All these memories have led to the creation of a unique bond between our family and who we have become as adults.

Apart from all the memories, childhood is the most important period of our lives when we get to learn new things and mould ourselves. It is rightly said that what we learn during our childhood days we get to carry throughout our lives.

How beautiful was that period, when we got to cultivate our talents, pick up new skills, and create our own distinct identities 

Also Read: Essay on Unity in Diversity in 100 to 200 Words

Essay on Childhood in 200 Words

Childhood is a magical period of one’s life. Those days of innocence, fun and endless possibilities, oh, how can one forget that It is now that we wish that we had the chance to relive that period once again? How can we forget that time when we created an endless amount of memories which will last a lifetime?

Gone are those days when we fought with our parents to buy us toys or play. With time, the definition of childhood has also changed. Children in the 21st century will now have a unique childhood experience, shaped by the technological advancements and social changes of our time. Now, children have access to information on their electronic devices (iPads/Phones). How can we forget, that children now prefer to use smartphones for entertaining themselves rather than playing outside? 

Despite these changes, the meaning of childhood can change no matter if the way of living has changed. Growing children still crave the love, support and guidance which will help them to be responsible adults. 

To conclude, everybody’s childhood is a priceless period. Parents and other adults who care for children contribute to their joyful and fulfilled childhood by showing them love, support, and guidance.

Related Articles

The time of life from birth to adolescence is known as childhood. It is a period of fast-paced cognitive, emotional, and physical growth. During this period, children learn and develop, acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed as adults.

Early experiences have a significant impact on how the brain develops in children.

There is no specified age for childhood. It depends on the person’s brain development. A person aged 18 or 21 can be considered as a child than someone who is 16 or 17.

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Home Essay Samples Life Childhood Memories

A Story From My Childhood: A Cherished Memory

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Memories of my Childhood

This essay about the elusive nature of childhood memories discusses the author’s personal experience with not being able to recall early life events clearly. It explores the feelings of disconnection and envy towards others who can vividly remember their pasts, while also investigating the psychological phenomenon of childhood amnesia that makes early memories inaccessible for many. The text reflects on how this lack of memories impacts the author’s sense of identity, leading to a deeper appreciation for the present moment and the importance of living mindfully. Additionally, it touches upon the significance of shared stories from family and friends in bridging the gap left by personal memory gaps, suggesting that identity can be shaped by more than just individual recollection. Through this exploration, the essay offers insights into the complexity of memory and identity formation.

How it works

Childhood memories often stand as a foundation upon which we build the narrative of our lives. These early experiences, theoretically, should shape our preferences, fears, and personalities. However, what does it mean for one’s sense of self if these memories are not just blurred but seemingly non-existent? This contemplation leads me into the depths of my own recollections, or the lack thereof, as I grapple with the realization that my childhood memories are not as accessible or vivid as they seem to be for others.

The phenomenon isn’t as rare as one might assume. Conversations with peers often lead to a shared sense of bewilderment when topics of early memories arise. It’s not a matter of traumatic experiences blocking these memories but rather a gentle haze that obscures them. This fog doesn’t discriminate by the emotional weight of the memory. Both mundane and momentous events lie beyond my cognitive reach, leaving me to wonder about the texture of my early life experiences.

The absence of these memories prompts a peculiar form of envy when I observe others recounting their childhood with clarity and affection. There’s a certain richness to their narrative of self that seems to be missing from my own. Yet, this absence also forces a different kind of introspection. It propels me to question the role of memory in shaping identity. If memories are the building blocks of our personal narratives, what happens when those blocks are missing? Are we less ourselves, or does it simply compel us to anchor our identity in the present more firmly?

The search for answers leads to an exploration of the mechanisms of memory. Memory is not a video recorder accurately capturing every moment of our lives. It is selective, reconstructive, and often fallible. Childhood amnesia, the term psychologists use to describe the general absence of memories from our early years, affects most people to varying degrees. Understanding this phenomenon sheds light on the commonality of my experience, offering comfort in the realization that the fog is a universal aspect of human memory.

This understanding prompts a shift in perspective. Instead of mourning the absence of these memories, I begin to view it as an invitation to a different kind of mindfulness. The present becomes not just a moment passing into the fog of memory but a space of acute awareness and appreciation. The relationships and experiences of now gain a heightened significance, serving as the vivid colors in the tapestry of my narrative.

Moreover, this contemplation of memory and identity brings to light the importance of shared stories. In the absence of personal memories, the stories told by family and friends become precious threads connecting me to my past. These narratives, while not remembered firsthand, form a mosaic of my early years, offering glimpses into the child I once was. They serve as reminders that while my personal recollection may be foggy, my existence in those moments was real and impactful.

In the end, the exploration of my absent childhood memories reveals a rich landscape of understanding and acceptance. It highlights the complexities of memory, the fluidity of identity, and the profound beauty of the present moment. While the early chapters of my life may remain hidden in the fog, the journey of discovery they have prompted illuminates the path forward with a newfound appreciation for the stories we live and those we tell.


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Memories Of My Childhood. (2024, Apr 07). Retrieved from

"Memories Of My Childhood." , 7 Apr 2024, (2024). Memories Of My Childhood . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 25 May. 2024]

"Memories Of My Childhood.", Apr 07, 2024. Accessed May 25, 2024.

"Memories Of My Childhood," , 07-Apr-2024. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 25-May-2024] (2024). Memories Of My Childhood . [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 25-May-2024]

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My Childhood Essay In 100 – 200 Words

In this essay, we explore the topic of “My Childhood” from the perspective of a student. From fond memories to important life lessons, we provide a brief overview of what makes childhood a special and formative time in our lives.

My Childhood Essay (100 to 200 words) For Student

1. Introduction Paragraph

Childhood is a special time in everyone’s life, and I cherish the memories of my childhood. It was a time of innocence, wonder, and discovery. Looking back, I realize that my childhood has shaped who I am today.

2. Body Paragraph

My childhood was filled with joyful moments spent with family and friends. I remember playing in the park, going on picnics, and celebrating birthdays with loved ones. These memories have stayed with me and remind me of the importance of cherishing the time we have with the people we care about.

My childhood was also a time of learning and growth. I learned many important life lessons that have stayed with me throughout my life. I learned the value of hard work, discipline, and perseverance. I also learned the importance of honesty, kindness, and respect for others.

As a child, I was full of curiosity and wonder. I loved exploring the world around me and asking questions about how things worked. This curiosity has stayed with me and has led me to pursue my interests and passions.

Looking back, I realize that my childhood was a time of great freedom and creativity. I had the opportunity to be imaginative and express myself through various forms of art and play. This creative freedom has helped me to develop a unique perspective and a strong sense of individuality.

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, childhood is a special time in our lives that shapes who we are as individuals. My childhood was filled with happy memories, important life lessons, and opportunities for learning and growth. I am grateful for the experiences I had and the people who helped shape me into the person I am today.

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Hello! Welcome to my Blog My name is Angelina. I am a college professor. I love reading writing for kids students. This blog is full with valuable knowledge for all class students. Thank you for reading my articles.

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  • Childhood Essay



Often it is heard from many renowned persons that they want to go back to their childhood days. Actually, we all want to do that. Childhood is that stage of life which we can enjoy- – the part of life which we cannot get back however much we want. Our future is built up on the basis of our childhood. Our future is shaped by our parent’s love and care. It is the actual time when we can teach our children what is right and what is wrong. Childhood is the time when the foundation of our life is built on the pillars of right values and principles.  

Memories of the Childhood

Childhood is the most unforgettable time period of my life. Everyone has childhood memories, remembering those memories brings peace and the feeling of delight. They are one of the most valuable for an individual.

In our childhood, a child does not have any worries about the modern world and when an adult recalls his/her memories of that careless phase of one’s life, they get a chance to forget their current pressure and stress that they are facing in the present life, even for a moment. People become very attached to their childhood memories especially in the later stage of their life and want to go back in time to re-experience their childhood but sadly can’t.

Importance of Childhood

The childhood memories we gather stay with us throughout our life. Anytime they can bring happiness in our life when we are down. The actual value of childhood can only be understood by the grownups because children are not capable of realizing the importance that this period brings with it. 

Children are free from all the worries, hazards of a busy life, and stresses in this world of uncertainty. We, the grownups, feel delighted when we recollect our childhood memories. But it is obvious that every memory of childhood days can’t be good. There may be some unwanted memories which can haunt a person his entire life. When we grow up we miss every single day of our childhood period. Our life is fully dependent on time. The time that has already passed cannot be brought back and so can’t our childhood. The innocence and careless days of childhood are what makes even poets and writers cherish those days and praise them.  

Children may fail to realize what golden moments they are passing through only until they reach adulthood. For an adult the best days of his life were spent while he was a child and it is during his stressful days he longs for the lost time. This is when the significance is best realised. The moral and social character of a child is developed in this time. In this time, the parents can easily alter the mindset of the children and make them differentiate between right and wrong. The minds of children are like clean slates on which any story, pleasant or harsh, can be written easily. 

Childhood is the time when a child’s diet must be apt to develop his health and immunity. The proper habit of eating, reading, sleeping, doing exercise, and to be neat and clean must be taught in this phase of time. It is also the best time for a child to engage in any creative activity like drawing, singing, etc. or sports for these will be with him when he grows up and works as a stress buster. 

We adults also have a thing or two to learn from children. They care for every people without any discrimination. They are also very helpful in nature to the people surrounding them. We can learn the lesson of humanity from children. Children are to be treated as the future of the country and they are the biggest part of a developing nation. Thus, they must be nurtured accordingly. 

A happy childhood makes for a successful adulthood. Children are like vehicles without any proper destination. You can drive them in any direction you want. Children are the representatives of God. They are the most innocent human beings in this world. It is us who can give them a beautiful future. If they have made some mistakes we should rectify them instead of misbehaving with them. Today’s child is tomorrow’s responsible citizen. 


FAQs on Childhood Essay

1. What are the Memories of childhood and why are they important?

The memories attained in childhood are one of the most valuable memories of a person's life, they eventually become the life-long memories which bring a smile to the face every time one is reminded of it. But most children can’t care less about those memories, only after one passes this stage of childhood and when he/she enters adulthood, they begin to realise the real value of childhood.

When a person collects good memories of his/her childhood, they get to experience a delighted feeling. But bad childhood memories can haunt a person for his whole life.

2. Explain the Importance of childhood in detail? 

Childhood carries no memories for a child but for an adult it has enormous importance. The time spent in childhood is what shapes the moral and social character of an individual. In this stage of life, the mindset of a person can easily be altered to whatever extent. Remodelling of the mindsets of an individual can easily be done, so a close eye should be maintained on the children, like where they go, what they watch or hear, or who they meet with.

In childhood, a child does not have any worries, hazards of the modern world and when an adult recollects his/her memories of that careless phase of one’s life, they feel very delighted.

3. Why is childhood considered to be the best period of life?

Childhood is the time when the social and moral character of a person gets its shape. In this stage of time, the mindset of an individual starts to form. The memories of childhood are a precious asset for most of the people out there. When a person recalls the memories from their childhood, they get to experience the feeling of being delighted.

In the childhood phase of an individual, they are completely free from the worries and hazards of the busy and stressful daily life of an average individual; children may fail to realise this precious moment of theirs as they had not faced the hardships that  comes with being an adult.

4. What should a child do in his/her childhood?

In childhood, a child must live and enjoy his/her life without the worries or stress of the modern world. In this stage of life, the person surrounding the child should try to influence children to start developing productive habits such as time management, reading, and writing. Developing such habits early in the life of an individual will enormously help the individual in the later stages of the life. 

Special care should be given to the diet, health, and immunity of the children and should be taught to be neat and clean, to eat and sleep at the right time. They should play to their heart's content. They should also do exercise regularly.

5. What are the most important characteristics of a child in its childhood?

The most important characteristics of a child in its childhood are the innocence that they harbour and helpful nature. They are helpful towards everyone without any kind of discrimination.

The best part of childhood is that the child’s character is still in the development phase and it can be formed in any way depending on the surrounding environment of the child. Special care should be given to the child in this time period for the safe development.

Childhood Memories Essay

Recalling childhood memories lead us to experience the feelings of our old days. These childhood memories are such that they last forever. Some memories help us to recall the pleasant moments of our life. But, some of the memories scare us because we have both good and bad experiences in our childhood. These childhood memories help us to go through the tough days of our lives in a happy and cheerful manner. They give strength to overcome difficult situations and fight against them. This essay on childhood memories will help students to write an effective essay. After going through this article, they can describe their childhood memories in a better way. For more CBSE essays , students must practise essay writing on different topics.

500+ Words Essay on Childhood Memories

We all remember our childhood friends, interesting incidents relating to them, our family members, relatives, and so many other things. Childhood is a lovely time that everyone remembers. It is the period that everyone cherishes as this builds our foundation when we are growing. In our childhood, we were carefree and innocent. We don’t know what jealousy is and have no complexes regarding ourselves and others. It was time for play, studies and vacations. We were gorging on our favourite food without any restrictions, playing pranks on our siblings, and supporting our siblings when we had to face the wrath of our parents. Those days won’t come back, but we can remember those childhood memories.

My Childhood Memories

I have a lot of childhood memories. Here, I will be sharing the one which is the most memorable to me. In my childhood, we used to go to my grandparents’ house at least once a year. We mostly visit my grandparents’ house during my school summer vacation. My grandparents live in a small village which is located near Kanpur city in Uttar Pradesh. I wake up early in the morning and go to the farmhouse. Near the farmhouse, we have farming land, where various crops are grown. By that time in the summer, the crops are ready to harvest. I love to see the harvesting process. In the farmhouse, I get prepared by taking a bath in the running water of the tubewell. I love that moment. The cold water and fresh air refresh my mind, and it starts my day full of positive energy.

My grandmother cooks the food in the traditional style by using the “Chulha”, a U-shaped mud stove made from local clay. I love the taste of cooked food. It’s so delicious and yummy. Also, during summer, my grandmother made papad, pickles of mango and green chilli. I just love eating them. We also have one cow and two buffaloes in the farmhouse. Due to this, there is a lot of milk and curd available in my house. It’s my duty to make Lassi, and we drink it every day after having lunch. At night, we sleep on the terrace to feel cool during summer. All my cousins gather at the terrace, and we enjoy it together. Everyone drinks a glass of milk before going to sleep.

Another naughty incident that I remember from my childhood was when I was studying at LKG. My parents had gone for a walk after having dinner at night. They informed me that they would be coming back soon, so I should not lock the door from the inside. I was watching the TV and said ok. After some time, I went to the kitchen to have a glass of water, and I locked the main door. I didn’t realise when I slept while watching the TV. My parents came, and they kept knocking on the door. I didn’t get up, and they had to be outside the home for the whole night. They went to the neighbours’ house and stayed there. In the morning, when I got up, I opened the door and called my parents.

Childhood is the best part of everyone’s life. Childhood memories give us different kinds of experiences. Whatever we have learned in our childhood lasts for a long time. Some experiences are joyful, while some help us learn lessons. These lessons give us the strength to stay positive in life even when situations are not in our favour.

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Nostalgia — Nostalgia Of My Childhood Years


Nostalgia of My Childhood Years

  • Categories: Childhood Memories Nostalgia

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Words: 472 |

Published: Oct 25, 2021

Words: 472 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Works Cited:

  • Education Department. (2019). Mobile phones in schools. Australian Government.
  • Gutierrez, K. (2018). The Pros and Cons of Smartphones in Schools. EdTech Magazine.
  • Harper, L. (2017). Cellphones in the Classroom: What Does Research Say? EdTech Magazine.
  • Junco, R. (2012). The relationship between frequency of Facebook use, participation in Facebook activities, and student engagement. Computers & Education, 58(1), 162-171.
  • Kirschner, P. A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook® and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior , 26(6), 1237-1245.
  • Kuznekoff, J. H., & Titsworth, S. (2013). The impact of mobile phone usage on student learning. Communication Education, 62(3), 233-252.
  • Lenhart, A. (2015). Teens, social media & technology overview 2015. Pew Research Center.
  • Nicol, A. (2018). Cellphones in the classroom: What’s the right approach? The Conversation.
  • Roberts, J. A., Pullig, C., & Manolis, C. (2015). I need my smartphone: A hierarchical model of personality and cell-phone addiction. Personality and Individual Differences, 79, 13-19.
  • The National Education Association. (2018). The NEA’s 2018 back-to-school guide: Cell phones and schools. National Education Association.

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Essay on Childhood Memories in 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 Words

Here are some beautiful essays on Childhood Memories in 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 words for class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. We have added an essay on 10 lines too. I hope you will love these essays. 

In This Blog We Will Discuss

Essay on Childhood Memories in 200 Words

Childhood memories are memories that we can’t forget ever. Some incidents are so bright in our minds that we recall it again and again. We all have tons of memories in childhood. These memories help us to build our character and personality, that’s why childhood memories are hugely important in our life. 

When people think or discuss these memories, then they feel very happy and delighted. That’s why we need to think and write about these memories. I have some really good memories from my childhood. I spent a long time in rural areas. 

I’ve completed my school from a village primary school. That was a very good experience for me. I can remember lots of incidents from there. I went to visit a village fair with my father and we bought lots of toys for me and my siblings. 

I still can feel the ‘Nagordola’, lots of people, colorful shops, and songs playing on loudspeakers when I close my eyes. These feelings and memories are priceless. I wish if I could go back to my past and see childhood again, that would be amazing. But I know it’s not possible. I miss my childhood a lot. 

Essay on Childhood Memories in 300 Words


Memories are some special visualization on our brain that helps us to recall some past incidents that happened to our life. It shapes our personality for the future. Sometimes we remember our long-ago past memories and it makes us happy. 

Childhood memories are the best example of that. We all have lots of childhood memories and these are golden. These memories are vivid in our minds always. I know some memories could be hard to remember but most of them are vivid in our brain.

My Childhood Memories:

I have so many memories that I can remember now. Most of them are related to my family , parents, and siblings. Because I have spent most of my childhood times with them. My father was a government worker then and he had very little time to spend with his family.

But still, he managed to spend a huge time with us. I loved his activities. He took us to different places for a picnic. My mom used to cook very delicious meals for us. I can remember, we were staying at a village in Bihar and it was the house of an uncle. We went for a long drive from there. 

There was an amazing side view on the road. I loved the villages of Bihar. The people were friendly. I spent an amazing time with my cousins there. These memories are very bright on my mind and I love to think about all those days. 


I know your childhood memories are also amazing and you love to think about these memories a lot. These memories make us happy. I love to think about these amazing days. 

Essay on Childhood Memories in 400 Words

Childhood is that time when we had nothing to worry about. We were free and only spent time with our fellow childhood friends. We could do anything. We had no limitation to do anything. 

I had an awesome childhood that I love to recall again and again. I wish I could get back to my childhood. That is a mind-blowing part of my life. 

When I think about my childhood, it reminds a few of my friends, such as Satish, Jay, and Ganesh. We lived in a rural area in Bihar. That area was very beautiful nature. I loved spending time with nature. When we were students of class 1 or 2, we used to leave school and go to the river. 

I caught lots of fish in the river. It was a very beautiful hilly river. I wish I could go back to that amazing place. It makes me very happy when I recall these memories. I loved to jump into the water and swim there. I promise I was an excellent swimmer back then. 

We also went to different places to catch birds and do different types of naughty stuff. Though I had to follow some strict rules at home, still I was super naughty. My father was strict but he loves us very much. 

My siblings were very good with me. I used to spend lots of time with them at home. We had different types of games to play together. I loved playing cricket and football mostly. 

First Day at School: 

The first day at school is the best childhood memory that I can recall. That was a tough day for me. I was not a good boy who wanted to go to school with his own wish. I did different things to not go to school. 

But finally, my father bought me some books, a school bag, and a school uniform and I agreed to go to school. The first day was full of scariness for me. We went to the headmaster’s room and he asked me some easy questions. I knew the answers but I was unable to answer due to lots of pressure going on in my head. 

I love to think about all of my childhood memories, these memories are my own and that’s what pushed me to create my personality and character. We all need to appreciate our memories in childhood. 

Essay on Childhood Memories in 500 Words

Essay on Childhood Memories in 500 Words

We all have lots of past memories in our lives. But I think childhood memories are the best memories that make us happy and delighted. You can’t deny that we all have some memories that are very special to us. 

I have some childhood memories too that I never can forget. Today I will talk about some of these memories here. 

Importance of Childhood Memories: 

Do some people think that childhood memories are really important? I think it is. Because these memories make a huge impact on our personality and lifestyle. It helps us to be that person that we want to be. 

We should never ignore our past memories. These are big lessons in our life. That’s why I think it has huge importance in our life. 

My Childhood Memories: 

I have some amazing memories. Most of them are with my family, my parents, my siblings, and my grandmother . I have three siblings and they are very close to my heart. We always had a great time together. I spent my entire childhood in a neighborhood in Delhi. 

I had lots of friends there. I am still connected with a few of them. We spent really good times together. I loved playing cricket in the afternoon. I have lots of good memories playing with them. I can remember the first day of school. 

It was very exciting for me. I always was an attentive student and I used to make good results in the class. My teachers loved me a lot for that. These memories are very sweet and I wish I could go back there and experience the same thing again. 

I used to visit my native village sometimes. That was another exciting journey for me. I spent an amazing time with my cousins there. We went for a picnic and did lots of crazy things. 

A Horrible Experience of Childhood:

Along with lots of good experiences I have some horrible childhood experiences too. When I was five years old, I didn’t know how to swim. And that time I was in the village. We were playing football and there was a pond near the field. 

When the ball went to the pond, someone went and picked it. A boy thought I might know how to swim and he pushed me to the pond. When I was trying to come out of the water but couldn’t he was laughing and thinking that I was making fun. 

But when he realized he jumped and took me off the water. That was a very shocking memory that I can’t forget. It could be worse. 

I love to think about my old childhood memories. These memories bring a broad smile to my face. I know it’s the same for everyone. These memories are very much cute and loving. It could be a topic of gossip too. People love sharing things about their childhood, I do. 

Essay on Childhood Memories in 600 Words

Essay on Childhood Memories in 600 Words

Childhood is the best stage of human life where they can spend time without any worry and pressure. We all have had that amazing time. The best part of childhood is spending time with fellow kids. We all have some good and some bad memories that we can recall from childhood. 

There are lots of memories that we have forgotten and some we can remember slightly. I am going to share some memories from my childhood that I still can’t forget. I think these are the golden memories and the time was priceless. 

I have been raised in a big family with lots of loving members. I have all the sweet memories with them. I especially want to mention my grandmother. She was an extraordinary lady. I have two siblings and we used to play in the garden in front of my home . 

My father bought us different types of toys and playing equipment. I loved playing cricket from childhood and still play that often. My little sister was like my assistant. She was always with me whatever I do and wherever I go. 

We used to steal pickles from the refrigerator that my grandma made. I still can feel the smell and taste of that pickle when I look back at the memories. My dad was a super busy person, but still, he spent enough time with us. I can remember a picnic at a zoo where the entire family went. 

My mom took some delicious food items there. I can’t remember what exactly the dishes were, but they were amazing in taste. That was an incredible day. We sometimes visited our native village and that was the best moment for me and my cousins. 

We got enough space to run, play football, and do all the stuff that we can’t do in the city. When I think about my childhood, that takes a large part there. Because I have so many amazing memories related to village life. 

My First Day at School: 

The first day at school is a beautiful memory that I can remember clearly. That was a very special event for me. I was very excited. I have been preparing for school and worked very hard for three months. My mother was also working very hard to teach me all the basic things such as alphabets and a few rhymes. 

I was pretty confident. I got my new uniform, school bag, some books, and new shoes. And the day came and they took me to school. That is quite a popular school in the city. My parents took me to the headmaster’s room. 

He was a gentleman and he greeted us properly. I can remember he asked me some basic questions and I answered them confidently. He called an assistant teacher and sent me to my classroom . A class was going on there already and I joined it. I found tons of boys and girls my age. 

I made some friends on the first day. I went back and found my parents waiting for me. That was a pleasant experience for me. I will never forget that day. My parents were very supportive and that’s why everything was easy for me. 


Childhood memories are very important in our life. We should remind ourselves of all the beautiful moments. When we think about our childhood it makes us laugh and we feel very genuine. 

That’s very important in our life. These little memories can shape our personality in the future. These are good times and they teach us how to overcome some problems in real life. 

10 Lines Essay on Childhood Memories

1. We all have lots of beautiful memories from our childhood that make us extremely happy.

2. This memory recalls are priceless and everyone loves to talk about them. 

3. I have some exciting memories of my own childhood. 

4. We were living in a village when I was a kid. I spent my entire childhood there. 

5. It was possible for me to experience lots of exciting things that a city kid can’t.

6. I learned swimming at the age of 5 and I used to swim in the nearest river with my fellow childhood friends. 

7. My parents had some rules to follow and of course, they were extremely strict. But still, we managed to find time for doing lots of naughty activities. 

8. I have most of my memories with my siblings and my cousins. 

9. These memories are priceless and I keep smiling when I think about these golden days. 

10. I love all these childhood memories and these are my base of personality. 

How do you write a childhood memories essay? 

To write a childhood memory, you need to look back to your childhood. It’s a very important topic for school and college students. By writing on this topic, you will get an opportunity to look back at your past memories. It is not hard to write about childhood memories. You need to think a bit and you will come with tons of beautiful memories. 

How would you describe your childhood memories? 

To describe your childhood memories, you need to write them first and then you can do some edits to make it look good. Here are some described essays on childhood memories, you can use them for your study purpose. 

Why is Childhood Memories important?

Childhood memories are very important for us because our memories help us to build our personality and make us the perfect human. It’s a huge lesson in our life. 

What can be a common childhood memory for all?

‘The first day at school’ could be a common memory for all. There are some memories that are related to our parents and siblings, they could be common for all too. 

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my childhood essay

Annie Wright LMFT

Adverse Childhood Experiences

'was my childhood really that bad', learn why the answer is yours and yours alone..

Posted May 19, 2024 | Reviewed by Jessica Schrader

  • What Are Adverse Childhood Experiences?
  • Find a therapist near me
  • The perception of a "bad" childhood is subjective and influenced by personal emotions and experiences.
  • Socio-ecological factors can also shape childhood experiences beyond family environments.
  • The ACE Study provides an objective framework for identifying adverse childhood experiences and their impacts.

“Was my childhood really that bad?”

In my 13 years as a therapist, this is, without a doubt, one of the most frequent questions I’ve heard.

Sometimes I hear this question in the context of it being the very thing people asked themselves about for years before finally coming to see me as a therapist.

And sometimes, it’s still a question that surfaces because it’s on my clients’ minds even as they’ve engaged in weekly therapy with me as a relational trauma therapist.

It’s a question that ping-pongs as denial ebbs, numbness fades, and the reality of what reality happened and its impact wars with conflicting ideas about what childhood trauma is, love and loyalty to parents despite their deficits, and contradictory awarenesses of what was.

It’s a question that’s central to childhood trauma recovery.

It’s a question that must be confronted to support the healing process.

But it’s a difficult and almost inevitably painful question to grapple with.

As a relational trauma recovery specialist, here are a few points I want you to know if you’ve asked the question and if you’re still grappling.

The answer to whether or not you had a bad childhood is subjective and yours alone

The answer to “Was my childhood really that bad?" is entirely dependent on your own feelings and emotions. Not the feelings, emotions, and opinions of your parents or guardians, siblings, community members, church members, or the internet.

No one gets to answer this question besides you and you alone. Why is this?

The way we each remember and feel about our childhood is deeply personal, much like a tapestry of memories woven with our individual emotions and experiences.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a renowned trauma expert, beautifully captures this in his book The Body Keeps the Score.

In his book, he illustrates how our personal emotional responses and the way we process events internally play a significant role in shaping our childhood memories.

It's like each of us has a different lens through which we view our past, and it's these lenses that give color and meaning to our experiences.

This understanding is important because it reminds us that it's normal and natural if our view of our childhood doesn't quite match up with someone else's.

So when we talk about childhood, it's not just about what happened; it's about how we hold those experiences in our hearts and minds, subjectively.

And yet, when it comes to what makes a childhood “bad,” what is behind the making has both objective data and subjective nuance.

What makes a childhood “bad” has both objective data and subjective nuance

Research on society's views of what constitutes a "bad" childhood experience often centers around the concept of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

The Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study was a significant investigation into childhood abuse, neglect, and household challenges, and provides an objective framework for identifying negative experiences in childhood.

This landmark study revealed that almost two-thirds of participants reported at least one ACE, with over 20% reporting three or more ACEs. The research underscored a graded dose-response relationship between ACEs and negative health and well-being outcomes.

In other words, the more ACEs experienced, the greater the risk for negative outcomes​​. (If you’re curious about the Kaiser ACE’s quiz, you can take it here .)

The ACE framework has been pivotal in understanding how different forms of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction during childhood can lead to long-term negative outcomes but the scope of the quiz fails to account for all experiences.

my childhood essay

For example, what happens when a female is the abuser?

Or what happens when one isn’t sure if a parent or guardian had mental illness?

Or what happens in broader social settings and outside the family home like in the cases of chronic bullying in middle school, coercion by faith and spiritual communities, or aggression or belittling from teachers or coaches?

The Kaiser ACE’s focus on adversities within the home sometimes overlooks broader socio-ecological factors that also impact childhood experiences.

Indeed, the concept of "embodiment" proposed by epidemiologist Nancy Krieger emphasizes that human biology is shaped by both the material and social world, suggesting that adverse experiences extend beyond just family environments to include wider societal factors.

In my opinion as a trauma therapist, this could look like racial and ethnic discrimination , gender -based discrimination, and community violence.

These kinds of experiences can’t be discounted when inventorying the functionality or dysfunctionality of a childhood, how “good” or “bad” it was.

Despite these limitations, the ACE framework remains a key and objective tool in identifying children at risk and guiding interventions and public health measures.

And beyond these objective measures in the home and outside of it, once again the subjective interpretation of one's childhood plays a crucial role in determining if one’s childhood was “bad.”

The perception of whether a childhood was "bad" is deeply personal and is influenced by individual experiences and emotional responses.

For instance, you may have one or more ACEs—what society would deem objective markers of hard and bad experiences—such as housing insecurity at times in your childhood, but perhaps you also had deeply loving, secure, and attuned parents throughout your childhood. That kind of protective factor is what’s known as a positive childhood experience (PCE).

PCEs highlight the significance of supportive relationships and resilience -building in mitigating the effects of adverse experiences or even how and if someone perceives their objective “bad” childhood experiences as such.

This growing body of research on PCEs underscores the complexity of childhood experiences, demonstrating that childhoods can have objective “bad” experiences in them, but because of how you interpret those experiences, whether it’s because of PCEs or otherwise, determines whether or not if felt subjectively “bad” to you.

So all of this to say, your childhood can be both/and and doesn’t have to be either/or. I'll explain more in a future post. Stay tuned.

To find a therapist, please visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory .

Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Viking.

The Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D.F., Spitz, A.M., Edwards, V., … & Marks, J.S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245-258.

Krieger, N. (2005). Embodiment: A conceptual glossary for epidemiology. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 59(5), 350-355.

The Kaiser ACE’s Quiz

Annie Wright LMFT

Annie Wright, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and relational trauma recovery specialist, is the founder of a trauma-informed boutique therapy center.

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After 20 years, I met my childhood hero: The local news anchor who looked like me

Illustration of a news anchor in a tv

This story was first published on May 28, 2021.

If you ask kids who their childhood heroes are, they’ll probably mention characters and celebrities they see on-screen. If you’re my age (turning 30 this summer,  despite not fully being ready for it ), you might remember looking up to the Power Rangers or Britney Spears.

I, however, looked up to Ellee Pai Hong.

That’s not an obscure actor’s name or an early ‘90s pop star that slipped your mind; Ellee Pai Hong was the morning news anchor on NBC Chicago in the early-mid 2000s.

My mother has faithfully watched the TODAY Show and the morning local news every day in our suburban Chicago home since before I was born. She still does, actually, and wants Al Roker to know that he should go easy on Craig Melvin.

It’s a matter of luck or fate that I now work for TODAY, the show I have genuinely watched since birth, and Ellee Pai Hong was the person I saw each morning before catching the bus. There were a few days I didn’t tune in — I was tired, running late, finishing some sort of homework — but most days, I watched attentively as a well-dressed Asian American woman delivered the news in my hometown.

As anyone who is a devout watcher of morning news will tell you, it’s easy to grow attached to the anchors who you welcome into your home each day. For me, it wasn’t just that Ellee Pai Hong was cool and funny — though she obviously was — it was that she was one of the few faces that looked like mine on TV at the time.

From left to right: Alex Perez, Ellee Pai Hong and Ginger Zee anchor the morning news in Chicago in 2008.

I soon discovered that my life skills involved, almost exclusively, talking to others and writing, so I decided to pursue a career in journalism. And I can safely say that I believed I could follow my dreams, at least in part, because I had watched Ellee Pai Hong do it for all those years.

When I stepped foot on campus at the University of Missouri, which is home to one of the nation’s best journalism programs, I had a bit of culture shock. People there were constantly asking me “What are you?” and the only other Asian faces I recognized were exchange students coming to study from the other side of the globe. I wasn’t sure where I fit in.

Later, as a reporter/anchor on the local NBC station in Columbia, Missouri, I took phone calls, emails, tweets and comments from local viewers who complained about my appearance on air. And at least some of the responses were  tied to my ethnic identity .

my childhood essay

But through it all, I tried to channel the journalists who came before me, especially Ellee Pai Hong.

I decided to track her down for this piece to let her know just how much her presence and success meant to me. She was kind enough to chat with one of her biggest fans and shared that she still works in TV, serving as a host for  Comcast Newsmakers .

It turns out that while growing up in Los Angeles, she looked up to another Asian American newscaster. Hong told me she used to trick her two sisters into watching the afternoon news so she could catch KCBS anchor Tritia Toyota.

“We only had one TV … and they never wanted to watch news,” she said with a laugh. “I’d say, ‘Well, don’t you want to watch the weather so you can figure out what you’re wearing to school tomorrow?’”

Toyota actually co-founded the Asian American Journalists Association in 1981. (Disclaimer: I’m a member of AAJA, which is now a nationwide organization with more than 1,500 members across the country).

“That’s who I used to watch, and I’d be like, ‘Oh, that looks interesting,’” Hong said. “And to see someone doing something like that (who) looks like me made it possible in my head. I totally believe you need to see people in different like diverse people in different areas because it connects you with that job or career.”

She added that she didn’t realize until later that she wanted to go into television broadcasting herself.

“Honestly, I wanted to be a Broadway star,” she said with a chuckle. “I’ve always been a little bit of a ham. But I realized I’m not that great of a singer.”

my childhood essay

Like anyone meeting their career role model, I also had to ask for Hong’s professional advice.

Her first tip was to approach stories from all angles. She explained that her first boss (a “hardass”) in a small local news market had made her approach a family grieving after their two children died in a fire. Hong said she didn’t want to do the story but felt pressure from her boss, so asked the mother to tell her about her children’s lives before their untimely deaths.

“I took the position of, you know, let’s talk about your children, how great they were. Tell me about all the great stuff they did and what kind of kids they were and how much you love them” she said. “Just like with everything, it’s about how you approach things. Don’t get stuck in thinking you need to approach things one way — you can come at it from all different angles.”

Another piece of advice: “You’ve got to manage up, as well as manage down,” referring to how important it is to maintain workplace relationships with both subordinates and those you report to.

“Obviously … being good is just the baseline, you have to be good at what you do,” she said.“But you have to manage those relationships within your workspace … it’s always people problems, relationship problems that gets in the way of being more productive and more creative.”

As of late, there have been a slew of problems facing the  Asian American community . As I spoke with Hong in late April, there were ongoing attacks against people of Asian descent happening across the country.

Hong told me a story about how her daughter had faced racism at school and how she’d coached her to stick up for herself. She thinks the entire community should come together to stand up for themselves as well and hopes for lasting change.

“I feel like Asian Americans, we need a person or a group or several people to say something and be loud about it,” she said. “Culturally speaking, we as Asian Americans, we grow up to be considerate of others. It’s not ‘me first,’ it’s consideration of others, work hard and do what you’re supposed to do.

“But, you know, silence never inspired change, right, so to be silent about what happens to you, about the derogatory comments that are aimed at you, about the hate crimes — more seriously — that happened to you, it doesn’t do anything,” she continued. “It doesn’t prompt change so I feel like as a community, we cannot be silenced. And we cannot be silent.”

my childhood essay

Sam Kubota is a senior digital editor and journalist for TODAY Digital based in Los Angeles. She joined NBC News in 2019.

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Essay on My Favorite Childhood Memory

Students are often asked to write an essay on My Favorite Childhood Memory in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on My Favorite Childhood Memory

The joy of my first bicycle.

As a child, my most cherished memory is the day I got my first bicycle. It was bright red, with shiny handlebars and a loud horn. I felt a rush of excitement the moment I saw it. My dad held the seat steady as I climbed on. The first few tries were shaky, and I stumbled a lot. But with each fall, I got back up, determined to ride smoothly.

Learning to Ride

After many tries, I finally pedaled without falling. The wind in my hair, I felt unstoppable. My parents clapped and cheered from the sidewalk. That day, I learned more than just riding a bike. I learned that with patience and practice, I could do anything. This memory of joy and accomplishment is one I’ll always treasure.

250 Words Essay on My Favorite Childhood Memory

My best childhood memory.

When I think of my childhood, many fun times come to mind. But the one I cherish the most is the day I learned to ride a bike. It was a bright summer day, and my older brother decided it was time for me to ride without training wheels.

My brother took me to the park with my shiny red bike. At first, I was scared. I thought I would fall without the small extra wheels on the sides. But my brother held the back of the seat and ran beside me. He kept telling me to keep pedaling and to look straight ahead. His words were like magic, and slowly, I felt less scared.

Success at Last

After many tries, something amazing happened. My brother let go, and I didn’t even notice. I was riding all by myself! The wind was in my hair, and I was going faster than ever. I felt like I was flying. When I finally stopped and looked back, I saw my brother clapping and cheering. I had done it!

Why It’s Special

This memory is special because it was the first time I felt truly proud of myself. My brother’s help and the joy of learning something new made that day unforgettable. It taught me that even when things seem hard, with a bit of help and courage, I can do anything. Every time I see a bike, I remember that summer day and smile. It was a simple day, but it is my favorite childhood memory.

500 Words Essay on My Favorite Childhood Memory

When I think back to my childhood, many memories come to mind, but one stands out the most. It was the day my family and I went to the beach during summer vacation. That day is my favorite childhood memory because it was filled with joy and laughter, and it brings a smile to my face every time I remember it.

The Trip to the Beach

It was a bright and sunny morning when we started our trip to the beach. My parents, my little sister, and I piled into the car, each of us excited for the day ahead. We sang songs and played games on the way there, making the car ride part of the fun. The drive felt short because we were having such a good time together.

Building Sandcastles

As soon as we arrived, I could feel the warm sand under my feet and hear the waves crashing. The first thing I did was to build a sandcastle with my sister. We used buckets and shovels to shape the sand into towers and walls. My parents helped us decorate our castle with shells and seaweed. It wasn’t just a sandcastle; it was our little masterpiece, and we were proud of it.

Playing in the Water

After building the sandcastle, we ran towards the water. The sea was cool and refreshing. My sister and I jumped over waves and laughed every time one of us got splashed. My parents watched us from the shore, smiling and taking pictures to capture the moment. It felt like the water washed away all our worries, and all that mattered was the fun we were having.

Family Picnic

When we got hungry, we had a picnic on the beach. My mom had packed our favorite snacks and sandwiches. We sat on a big blanket and ate while we looked at the sea. There’s something special about eating outside, with the breeze and the sound of the waves. It made the food taste even better.

Watching the Sunset

As the day came to an end, we watched the sunset together. The sky turned into beautiful colors of orange and pink. It was like watching a painting come to life. We sat in silence, taking in the beauty of nature. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Why It’s My Favorite Memory

That day at the beach is my favorite childhood memory because it was a day spent with my family. We didn’t need fancy toys or gadgets to have fun; just being together was enough. It taught me the value of family and how simple moments can become the most precious memories.

This memory is like a treasure in my heart. Whenever I feel sad or miss my family, I think about that day, and it makes me happy. It reminds me that happiness comes from love and togetherness. That’s why my trip to the beach with my family is the memory I hold dearest from my childhood.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

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my childhood essay

Your Childhood Home Might Never Stop Haunting You

Many of us feel pulled toward the places where we grew up. But it can be weird when old and new selves collide.

suburban house through trees

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I n a drawer in the living room of my childhood home, you can find the drumsticks I got in elementary school, the calculator I used in middle school, and a to-do list I wrote in high school. (“Shoes—tell mom,” it reads, and, in all caps: “CUT NAILS.”) In my bedroom are prom pictures, concert posters, a photo of my round-faced teen self printed for a fake ID I never got. In the bathroom: expired acne medication; crunchy, dried-up mascara; an old retainer. My mother, who still lives in the house, would like me to clear out my stuff. I keep stalling.

The funny thing is, I’m not all that attached to these objects. I could throw most of them away after a few moments of bemused recollection; the pictures, I could take back with me to Brooklyn. But that would make it possible for my mom to sell the house, which she’s been trying to do for years. I can’t seem to stop standing in the way.

Why? If home is “ where the heart is ” or “ wherever I’m with you ,” I should be fine with my mom moving anywhere—especially to a nearby apartment, as she plans to, where she’ll doubtless have a place for me to sleep whenever I want. Instead, any mention of a future sale prompts an ache akin to the homesickness I felt as a kid at summer camp—except that now I ache for my future self. I imagine her standing outside that suburban New Jersey house, pacing back and forth, insisting that some piece of her remains in this one edifice on a certain corner of a specific street, even though she hasn’t lived there for decades.

Read: What the suburb haters don’t understand

It’s a weird, anticipatory grief—but it’s not unfounded. For his 2011 book, Returning Home: Reconnecting With Our Childhoods , Jerry M. Burger, a Santa Clara University psychologist, interviewed hundreds of people and found that about a third had traveled as adults to visit a childhood home; another third hoped to. The subjects who’d made the trip largely no longer had parents in the house; in many cases, they arrived unannounced, ready to knock and ask the residing strangers to let them in. Others discovered that their old home physically no longer existed. Giving up such a formative space, Burger told me, is “like a dancer losing a leg. It’s a really important part of you. And now it’s gone.” So many people cried during interviews that Burger started arriving with tissues.

You might think that only people with rosy childhood memories would feel compelled home, perhaps to relive their golden days or try to regain some of the comfort of being young. But that’s not true—some of Burger’s subjects had experienced such trauma at home that going back was probably a terrible idea; one person turned and ran out of the space immediately after setting foot inside it. Rather, Burger found, people with all kinds of relationships to where they grew up shared another motivation: They felt like a stranger to their old selves. And they wanted to reconnect.

A ttempting to pull a thread between past and present is a common human impulse, what the Northwestern University psychologist Dan McAdams calls a search for “narrative identity”—this life story we draft as we go, trying to make sense of who we are and why. Marya Schechtman, a philosopher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told me that humans are constantly negotiating a contradiction: On the one hand, “it’s just sort of taken as a given that you’re a single individual from roughly cradle to grave.” On the other hand, this isn’t really how we experience life. Certain parts of our history resonate more than others, and some former selves don’t feel like us at all. (“I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be; one of them, a seventeen-year-old,” Joan Didion wrote . “It would be of some interest to me to know again what it feels like to sit on a river levee drinking vodka-and-orange-juice and listening to Les Paul and Mary Ford.”)

Many of us actively try to “make our pasts and our futures real to us,” Shechtman said. So although we eagerly make plans and envision ourselves in new places, with new people, we also flip through photo albums and reread our old journals. (Didion on keeping a notebook: “Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point.”) But sometimes, those methods aren’t enough to really take us back. Burger kept hearing a similar story: Subjects would find photos of themselves as kids, but “they’re feeling like they can’t relate to this person in the picture,” he told me. “And it’s important to kind of get that sense of wholeness, to keep that part of yourself alive.”

Going home can be a much more effective way to time travel. Our past isn’t just preserved in knickknacks and memorabilia; it lingers in the spaces we once occupied. When we talk about our experiences, we often focus, understandably, on the people who’ve shaped us, and we “treat the physical environment like a backdrop,” Lynne Manzo, a landscape-architecture professor at the University of Washington, told me. But setting can be its own character; it colors our day-to-day, and we endow it with agency and meaning. If social interactions and relationships are the bricks constructing our identities, our surroundings are the scaffolding.

Setting is also central to how we remember. Recalling events (as opposed to information) involves “episodic memory,” which is deeply tied to location. Many researchers, in fact, believe that episodic memory evolved to help us physically orient ourselves in the world. (One very sad study —partial title: “Implications for Strandings”—found that some sea lions with damage to the hippocampus, the hub of episodic memory, get lost and wander ashore.) When you’re in a given space, your brain tends to “pull up the relevant memories” that happened there—even ones that have long been dormant, Charan Ranganath, a neuroscientist and the author of Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold On to What Matters , told me. People remembering a specific moment can even demonstrate what Ranganath called a “reboot” of the brain-activity patterns they showed during the original event.

But without the physical space to visit, it can be hard to mentally transport yourself back. When the 19th-century French writer Stendhal wrote his memoir The Life of Henry Brulard , detailing a difficult and lonely childhood, he drew the places of his youth again and again, in an obsessive attempt to spur his memory. “Winding staircase—Large, cheerless courtyard—Magnificent inlaid chest-of-drawers surmounted by a clock,” he scrawled under a sketch, as if the incantation might apparate him to his grandfather’s imposing Grenoble townhouse. Yet his recollection remained, as he put it, like a fresco , solid for stretches and elsewhere crumbling apart.

Read: Nostalgia is a shield against unhappiness

I can relate to the yearning for preservation: If my mom leaves my childhood home, I’ll lose the particular sweet smell—I can’t even describe it—that wafts through the living room on hot days. And the pinch of acorns under my bare feet in the yard. And the specific lilt of the birdsong in the early mornings, so different from what I hear now, just over 15 miles away. I’m scared that without those sensations, the filing cabinet deep in my mind, holding all these everyday snippets of memory, will get pushed just out of my reach.

V isiting home doesn’t always clarify or heal; it won’t necessarily make the scattered fragments of your story click into place. Sometimes, it just leaves you confused. For most people, what comes up is thorny—not only because good and bad events alike occurred at home, but because as much as you might long for your old and current selves to collide, it’s strange when they do.

Going back can highlight how faulty your recollections were in the first place—and how subjective your perceptions still are. Anne Wilson, a Wilfrid Laurier University psychologist who studies identity, gave me an example: You might remember your old bedroom as large, the hallway from it running on and on, not just because the memory is from a child’s perspective but also because you associate it with enchantment—or with powerlessness. If you return to the house and find a short hallway, a tiny bedroom, it can feel disturbing. That’s not to mention material changes that might have been made to the house, which Burger said his participants reliably hated . To encounter such a familiar space transformed, and without your consent—as if someone has snuck into your memories and moved things around—is an affront. Your version doesn’t exist anymore.

Even if family still lives in your old home, returning can be unnerving. Several people have told me, in casual conversation, that they’ve felt themselves regressing on visits back—they let their mom do their laundry or address their parents like a bratty 15-year-old. That tendency has to do with relationships as much as with physical space; our habits of interaction can be stubborn. But the setting itself can cue you to act a certain way. Just think about it evolutionarily, Schechtman told me: “If you’re a bunny, and you’re in the location where the hawk was last time, you should start feeling scared”—and get out of there. When a place triggers a rush of episodic memories, you might feel the frustration, the helplessness, the loneliness you did when you were young, and lapse into old behaviors.

Read: Welcome to kidulthood

All of this can feel odd, maybe even a little heartbreaking. Confronting change requires confronting loss. And confronting loss, of course, means acknowledging our mortality: If our old selves have slipped beyond our grasp, our current self will too. “The moment you stop to reflect, even on the present, that moment is gone,” Ranganath told me. “Everything is in the world of memory.”

But if you can let the melancholy of that truth wash over you, you might find that it’s beautiful too. So often, I feel stranded in the present or the recent past—stricken by the dumb thing I said yesterday but unable to conjure what it felt like to be 6, or 12, or 20. It’s hard to really feel that right now is one point in a larger life trajectory, even if I know it on some level. Going home is one of the rare times I can glimpse the larger perspective.

One of these days—after I’ve emptied the living-room drawer of the paper scraps and almost-spent gift cards—returning will be harder for me. But I can imagine my future self joining the ranks of Burger’s pilgrims, arriving on my old street looking for meaning, some story to tell about the past. That might sound sad, but such a visit isn’t just about holding on. It’s also about letting go—that thing I’ve been struggling to do.

Manzo, the landscape-architecture professor, suggested that I enact a ritual to bid farewell to my mom’s house: walk through the rooms, take pictures, pocket a stone. I could sketch like Stendhal, try to capture all the angles. I will lose some memories, but maybe I’ll come away with some sense of the wholeness that Burger said so many people seek. I keep thinking about the woman who ran out of her old home—she wanted wholeness too. Eventually, her brother bought the place and bulldozed it to the ground. She had just one more request: Where the house once stood, she asked him to plant some flowers.

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What I’ve Learned From My Students’ College Essays

The genre is often maligned for being formulaic and melodramatic, but it’s more important than you think.

An illustration of a high school student with blue hair, dreaming of what to write in their college essay.

By Nell Freudenberger

Most high school seniors approach the college essay with dread. Either their upbringing hasn’t supplied them with several hundred words of adversity, or worse, they’re afraid that packaging the genuine trauma they’ve experienced is the only way to secure their future. The college counselor at the Brooklyn high school where I’m a writing tutor advises against trauma porn. “Keep it brief , ” she says, “and show how you rose above it.”

I started volunteering in New York City schools in my 20s, before I had kids of my own. At the time, I liked hanging out with teenagers, whom I sometimes had more interesting conversations with than I did my peers. Often I worked with students who spoke English as a second language or who used slang in their writing, and at first I was hung up on grammar. Should I correct any deviation from “standard English” to appeal to some Wizard of Oz behind the curtains of a college admissions office? Or should I encourage students to write the way they speak, in pursuit of an authentic voice, that most elusive of literary qualities?

In fact, I was missing the point. One of many lessons the students have taught me is to let the story dictate the voice of the essay. A few years ago, I worked with a boy who claimed to have nothing to write about. His life had been ordinary, he said; nothing had happened to him. I asked if he wanted to try writing about a family member, his favorite school subject, a summer job? He glanced at his phone, his posture and expression suggesting that he’d rather be anywhere but in front of a computer with me. “Hobbies?” I suggested, without much hope. He gave me a shy glance. “I like to box,” he said.

I’ve had this experience with reluctant writers again and again — when a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously. Of course the primary goal of a college essay is to help its author get an education that leads to a career. Changes in testing policies and financial aid have made applying to college more confusing than ever, but essays have remained basically the same. I would argue that they’re much more than an onerous task or rote exercise, and that unlike standardized tests they are infinitely variable and sometimes beautiful. College essays also provide an opportunity to learn precision, clarity and the process of working toward the truth through multiple revisions.

When a topic clicks with a student, an essay can unfurl spontaneously.

Even if writing doesn’t end up being fundamental to their future professions, students learn to choose language carefully and to be suspicious of the first words that come to mind. Especially now, as college students shoulder so much of the country’s ethical responsibility for war with their protest movement, essay writing teaches prospective students an increasingly urgent lesson: that choosing their own words over ready-made phrases is the only reliable way to ensure they’re thinking for themselves.

Teenagers are ideal writers for several reasons. They’re usually free of preconceptions about writing, and they tend not to use self-consciously ‘‘literary’’ language. They’re allergic to hypocrisy and are generally unfiltered: They overshare, ask personal questions and call you out for microaggressions as well as less egregious (but still mortifying) verbal errors, such as referring to weed as ‘‘pot.’’ Most important, they have yet to put down their best stories in a finished form.

I can imagine an essay taking a risk and distinguishing itself formally — a poem or a one-act play — but most kids use a more straightforward model: a hook followed by a narrative built around “small moments” that lead to a concluding lesson or aspiration for the future. I never get tired of working with students on these essays because each one is different, and the short, rigid form sometimes makes an emotional story even more powerful. Before I read Javier Zamora’s wrenching “Solito,” I worked with a student who had been transported by a coyote into the U.S. and was reunited with his mother in the parking lot of a big-box store. I don’t remember whether this essay focused on specific skills or coping mechanisms that he gained from his ordeal. I remember only the bliss of the parent-and-child reunion in that uninspiring setting. If I were making a case to an admissions officer, I would suggest that simply being able to convey that experience demonstrates the kind of resilience that any college should admire.

The essays that have stayed with me over the years don’t follow a pattern. There are some narratives on very predictable topics — living up to the expectations of immigrant parents, or suffering from depression in 2020 — that are moving because of the attention with which the student describes the experience. One girl determined to become an engineer while watching her father build furniture from scraps after work; a boy, grieving for his mother during lockdown, began taking pictures of the sky.

If, as Lorrie Moore said, “a short story is a love affair; a novel is a marriage,” what is a college essay? Every once in a while I sit down next to a student and start reading, and I have to suppress my excitement, because there on the Google Doc in front of me is a real writer’s voice. One of the first students I ever worked with wrote about falling in love with another girl in dance class, the absolute magic of watching her move and the terror in the conflict between her feelings and the instruction of her religious middle school. She made me think that college essays are less like love than limerence: one-sided, obsessive, idiosyncratic but profound, the first draft of the most personal story their writers will ever tell.

Nell Freudenberger’s novel “The Limits” was published by Knopf last month. She volunteers through the PEN America Writers in the Schools program.

Paul Scheer was abused as a child. His new memoir helped him reclaim ‘the power of my voice for my childhood’

Paul Scheer stands in front of his house, its outline in black in the background, under a sky full of clouds.

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Joyful Recollections of Trauma

By Paul Scheer HarperOne: 256 pages, $30 If you buy books linked on our site, The Times may earn a commission from , whose fees support independent bookstores.

Paul Scheer knew he had a lot of funny childhood stories — the comedian (“The League,” “Black Monday”) had been regaling audiences with them for years on the podcast “How Did This Get Made?” with his wife, June Diane Raphael, and friend Jason Mantzoukas. But as a memoir reader, he understood that a collection of amusing anecdotes did not make a book.

To create something worth reading, he’d “have to go deeper and tell the stories I’ve never really told,” Scheer, 48, said in a recent video interview from his Los Angeles home. Those stories centered largely around the abuse he (and his mother) suffered at the hands of his stepfather and the fear and shame it caused, especially when his mom and dad didn’t step in to save him. Still, Scheer was adamant that his book not be therapy. “I’ve read books that almost feel too private. I didn’t want that — I’d done that work before I started writing.”

“Joyful Recollections of Trauma,” Scheer’s memoir-in-essays, blends the horrifying and the self-deprecatingly funny, often within the same chapter, sometimes within the same sentence. “Writing this was a process of refining and discovering what the book wanted to be,” Scheer said.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The book "Joyful Recollections of Trauma" by Paul Scheer

How did writing the book change your understanding of your past and of yourself?

These are all things that I knew about myself, but wrestling with details gave me a good point of view and actually helped me bring certain things into therapy. I’m not surprised at the stories, obviously, but I am surprised that some of the connections I didn’t see until they were down on the page. There were things I’d taken for granted and never really examined. As a kid, you don’t know any different — I grew up in this situation that was violent and scary, but it was my life so it was also so normal.

The thing I was most surprised at was the anger that I felt at my parents. I love my parents and have a great relationship with them and they’ve supported me in countless ways, but I had made excuses for them or just said, “It’s fine.” But as a parent myself, in telling those stories, I thought, “If I was in their shoes, I would do something.” So this book made me look at things differently. I think it gave me a better relationship with my kids. I think it also gave me a better relationship with my parents.

LOS ANGELES, CA-MARCH 8, 2019: Paul Scheer, comedian-actor-writer-director is photographed in Los Angeles on March 8, 2019. Scheer is currently appearing in the Showtime series, “Blue Monday,” and recurring in ABC’’s “Fresh Off the Boat,” and HBO’s “Veep, co-hosting two popular podcasts about movies, and appearing onstage regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Q&A: Why comedy everyman Paul Scheer is acting as fast as he can

It is not a surprise to find that Paul Scheer talks fast. He doesn’t have time not to.

March 30, 2019

Did you temper what you wrote about your parents and how you felt?

It was something I wrestled with. I don’t think the anger at my parents comes out in the book. I just laid things out without trying to sweeten the edges or making excuses, but this is not a book that I was writing to settle the score. I have a good relationship with my parents. My parents’ friends will read this book, and I wanted to protect my parents from getting slings and arrows from their friends.

Was writing about your stepfather and the abuse cathartic?

I don’t think it was cathartic because I had dealt with it all in therapy and I wasn’t going through that as I was writing it. What it was for me was a release of a burden, a chance for me to tell this story and feel like I had full control of it. What I reclaimed was the power of my voice for my childhood — I’ve been free of those moments already, but now it’s something I don’t have to hide, I can talk about this. Oh, maybe that is cathartic.

Was it difficult to find the right tonal balance?

I thought about it like a conversation. I’m going to tell you these stories. I’m not going to undercut the dark parts, but I also am going to be aware of the valves. No one’s life is just one thing — there are highs and lows and fun. My childhood had these very traumatic moments, but they weren’t the only things that defined me, so the funny stories are in here.

I always kept the abuse stories on the side. But I would tell other stories that I look back on as fond memories, and I’d see Jason’s and June’s faces and they were shocked. And I’d say, “This is funny” and they’d say, “That is traumatic.”

When I’m telling one of those stories and I see someone tense up worrying how to react, I’d inevitably pull back and veer off. Writing the book I could give the push and the pull and guide the story, driving through the parts I want to tell while finding a balance.

Culver City, California July 18, 2023-Members of SAG and AFTRA strike outside Sony Pictures in Culver City Tuesday. (Wally Skalij/Los Angles Times)

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Hollywood actors on strike, but many A-list celebrities still working. Inside side deals debate

SAG-AFTRA approved side agreements allowing more than 100 independent film projects and series to move forward amid the strike, but the deals have spurred debate.

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Did moving from New York to Los Angeles help you grow or find yourself?

Moving to L.A. changed my outlook on so many things. It’s the self-help capital of the United States and people here do wild things. There’s a culture where people are fine talking about their issues and there’s a lack of judgment. Los Angeles is open to everything: scream therapy or this or that. They say, “My healer does this” or “I’ve done this ceremony” or “My myofascial release took out trauma.” I have a friend who went to Peru and did ayahuasca and changed his life, but I also have friends who do ayahuasca in an afternoon around somebody’s pool and I say, “You’re just doing drugs.”

So L.A. has freed me of a certain amount of self-judgment.

You started in improv and write about your Upright Citizens Brigade days. How did improv shape you as a person?

Improv to me is truly life. It’s about collaboration. And to me, as a human being, every relationship is about collaboration. To be a good improviser, you have to listen and react, taking cues from other people and giving your partner equal weight. Because it’s all about communication, it forces you to be a kinder human being.

The biggest thing in improv is trust. I was a person who had trust issues, and improv to me was a continual trust fall. In a scene I’m making a choice and I’m going to believe that someone is going to support me and catch me. For a long time in my life, I didn’t have that person to catch me. I always protected myself so I wouldn’t fall. Improv opened me up to believe I can surround myself with good people and then I can do anything with them. Those tenets really have changed my life, and that’s something else I didn’t fully realize until writing the book.

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