Stashed somewhere your basement or attic is a box full of pictures – pictures of individual family members or your entire family together, showcasing a wide variety of the experiences you’ve had over the years. Taking some time to pull out those pictures and look over them together is a wonderful way to remember all of the things you’ve been through together, whether they’re happy, sad or just silly.
When my family and I have done so, it has always brought us laughs to look back on how things were, how much they have changed, and how those moments have shaped us into who and what we are today. If you have a large family or there is a good amount of time between the oldest and youngest of your children, this is also a fun way to give younger family members a bit of a history lesson on how (quickly) things have changed over the years (VCRs? 90s fashion and culture anyone?). Younger siblings can crack up at what their parents and older siblings looked like, acted and the very different situations they found themselves in.
Learning About My Father
Looking back in time through pictures and video strengthens relationships because it gives family members a chance to see and get to know each other in different and unique. For example, because my father doesn’t share too much about his teenage years, my siblings and I always wondered what kind of kid he was. As a strong, tough, intimidating former marine and lifelong high-level construction worker whom I have seen a single time san his mustache, it was difficult for us to imagine him in any other way. Seeing pictures of him as a rail-thin, fun-loving teenager and young adult with long blonde 70s hair allowed us to see a completely different side of him, which helped us feel closer to him.
Along with making us laugh some of these photos, particularly those showing him and my mother together when they were young and dating, were also quite inspiring. The way they looked at each other, and particularly the look of adoration that my father frequently wore, is telling of the extent of their love and the strength of their relationship. It makes my siblings and I want that strong and genuine of a relationship for ourselves. Knowing more than one side of a person, especially a family member, allows us to understand them better, which is key to improving and strengthening any relationship.
Along with showing revealing sides of people other family members may be unfamiliar with, looking through old family photographs and reminiscing on times both good and bad provides an ideal situation for family members to be more open and share experiences they likely wouldn’t share otherwise. Because spending time together in this activity naturally results in new questions being asked, members of a family often take the chance to share important, insightful or simply funny stories
Learning About My Mother
I remember an occasion when looking through old pictures together allowed created an opportunity for my mother to share with us details about her life when she was a young adult trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted in life. After seeing some pictures of her rocking some hairdos and fashion choices that were strikingly different than what we were used to — even though at the time they were quite in fashion at the time — after having a good laugh, we naturally wondered what led to her trying out so many different, contrasting kinds of dress and lifestyle. She talked about wanting, at different ages and points in her life, to look and be like certain people or family members she admired. As she matured, grew older and learned more about how imperfect and fallible the people she admired were, however, she would often lose enthusiasm or even occasionally the esteem she had for them, and moved on. At some point when that list of people and styles ran out she entered a period of self-discovery in which she really didn’t know who she was, what she wanted, or what values she wanted to aspire to or live by.
She was searching for identity, purpose and a way of living that would bring her happiness – all without having any clue as to what they might be. It was in this time that she had formative personal and religious experiences that formed the base of who she is as well as what she values and strives for today. Learning about this time of her life and the influences that have shaped her into the person she is today provided a lot of context and insight into many of the choices she makes day to day and the way that she has raised as her children. More than anything, I understood her more as an individual – and that understanding allowed me to appreciate more deeply the experiences that have influenced the way she has lives her life and cares for her children.
Even though every time you look at pictures may not lead to the sharing of these kinds of personal experiences, at the very least it will always bring your family a good time. Pictures are taken to capture a moment in our life that has special meaning – meaning that we can discover and share when we take time to look back on those moments, especially when we do so together as a family. With the holiday season in full swing and Christmas fast approaching, there is no better time to make this activity or one similar a regular tradition for your family – you’ll be closer for it!
I’m so thankful Christian was able to share some of his Christmas Traditions with us. I know sharing memories will help your family grow closer together and will help your children become more confident in who they are. And you can stay connected with Lifey’s Facebook page or check them out on You Tube to learn more about preserving family stories. Lifey is all about creating a video selfie of one’s life. A video autobiography that’s organized by topic. Another way to define Lifey, is an interactive video journal, or a video time capsule. Personally I’m excited about this idea about documenting life stories. Click over to their site to learn more.