Scrapbooking for a Positive Family-Image
As the Holidays Approach, Start a New Family Tradition with Scrapbooking
By Dr. Caron Goode
We are all aware of what a positive self-image can do for a person. It gives him the confidence to achieve more. It picks him up when he is down. It makes it possible for him to enjoy life to the fullest. The same holds true for families. Like individuals, every family has its ups and downs. Situations such as illness, separation, divorce, and parent-child power struggles can dent a positive family-image. One way to offset the effects of these situations is to involve the family in a group project.
Scrapbooking is an ideal family project. It encourages families to work together toward a common goal. The process of scrapbooking also has a way of gently reminding families that they are unit. It helps each member acknowledge and appreciate family triumphs and traditions. It reminds them that they share a history and a love that remains constant over time.
Before beginning your project, decide which area of family life you want to highlight. You may want a scrapbook that communicates an overall feeling of warmth and togetherness. Or you may want to explore a theme or common family interest. This type of project can focus on favorite vacation or holiday memories, the birth of your children, or sporting achievements.
Next, begin gathering supplies. Start with a variety of family photos that represent your desired theme or outcome. In addition to photographs, look for mementos. Postcards, certificates, ribbons, birthday cards, and material from favorite clothing items are good. Once you have gathered the family memorabilia, it is time to gather the family. Setting aside an hour or so each week to work on the scrapbook is as important as the project itself in regaining a positive family-image.
- Use pictures to evoke memories. Do you ever look through old photos and find yourself smiling at what you remember? Photographs can evoke a sense of time and place like nothing else. They can also evoke emotions and a sense of belonging. While working on your scrapbook, talk about what was happening before and after each photo was taken.
- Put memories into words. Encourage your family to write captions, stories, or poems to go along with the pictures in your scrapbook. They can describe the situation, how they were feeling, or how the image makes them feel now. Children may enjoy composing and illustrating acrostic poems that describe their feelings or memories. In addition, younger children delight in having older brothers and sisters take dictation. This not only enforces their sibling bond, but their sense of family as well.
- Use pictures to express appreciation. Pictures often inspire people to express what they appreciate or admire about others. A picture of dad dressed for Halloween might make children laugh. It might also make them realize they appreciate his sense of humor. Encourage your family to share these types of feelings as you work on your scrapbook. You can do this by asking them to list five positive things they feel about the family member in a photo. Have them write these attributes on the page where the picture appears. Also have them include their name and the date. Small tributes such as these can go a long way towards building a positive family-image.
- Compose positive family portraits. Have each family member compose their own family portrait. They can be drawings or collages made from magazine and newspaper clippings. They can be actual pictures or a series of words that positively describe your family. Use these portraits intermittently in your scrapbook. These additions will give your family a unique snapshot of its positive image from many angles.
- Put your handiwork on display. When your family decides the project is complete, display it. Keep it on the coffee table or in clear view on a shelf. Refer to it often. Whenever your family hits a rough spot or needs a boost, pull down your scrapbook. Have your family look through it and recall the memories that it holds and the love that went into making it. Use it to remind yourselves of the positive family-image you have built and cherish.
Dr. Caron B. Goode is the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents International, a training and certification program for parent coaches. In addition to duties with the academy, Goode is the founding editor of the website http://www.heartwiseparenting.com, and the author of close to twenty books.