One of the most common questions Life Your Way readers ask when we talk about decluttering and organizing is how to organize photos. So, over the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about all things photo-related with a special series from the Association of Personal Photo Organizers!
The following is written by Philip Griffith:
Cameras, Kids, and Conversations
I have two boys who alternately love and hate being photographed. However, they always want to look at the resulting photos, albums, and books.
One of the reasons that I am so passionate about recording the moments of our lives is to ensure that my boys know who they are and who we are as a family. The photos and stories of our everyday lives help instill in our children the values and people that are important, which helps them understand who they are.
Dr. Kenneth Condrell, a child psychologist, family therapist, and author, states in Full of Love by Nancy O’Dell:
“In my experience, when parents spend fun and loving time with their children, the children feel valued, desired and special. These feelings pump up a child’s self-esteem. And sharing family photos of special times together is one of the best ways I know to do that.”
His First Photo Album
One of the first photo albums I made for my son was based on Max Lucado’s book Just in Case You Ever Wonder. I took pictures of my son, combined them with the text of the book, and read it to him, making the story so much more personal.
He loved seeing his pictures in the album!
I followed that with his Lifebook, the story of his life from birth through adoption and the process that made us into our family. His Lifebook captures his first year with us and we sit down and read it at least two or three times a year.
Last year, on his birthday, in the middle of his party with seven of his friends, he brought out his lifebook to show all his buddies. My son wanted to share his story with his friends – where he was born, how he flew on the airplane with us to come home, along with all the funny stories of his babyhood. It was amazing.
All of those little boys eagerly crowded around the photo album to see and hear the story of their buddy on his birthday. It was a real story of a real person that they knew and loved. It was priceless.
The Benefits of Recording Life’s Memories
One of the benefits of recording life’s memories and stories are the opportunities for conversations and the bonds created. I’ll never forget when, while reading my younger son’s lifebook, my older son leaned over to look and listen to his brother’s story.
When I read about my younger son’s adoption, my older son pulled back, looked at me, and said, “You adopted him?!” To which I replied, “Yes, just like we adopted you!” There was a pause as he pondered this fact, followed by, “You mean just like Moses?”
If we didn’t have these books of photos and stories to see and discuss, I never would have known what my oldest son was thinking at that moment or how he was processing his own story.
Both my sons continue to ask me to take pictures of them and their creations. They also want to make books for their grandparents at Christmas and birthdays. They already understand that people are important, and that the best way to say it is with photos and the stories they tell.
What stories can you share with your children? What conversations do photos bring up in your family?
Philip is the father of two boys. He and his wife Susan run Photo Solutions, a business focused on helping people tell their important family stories and organize their photo memories. He is a member of the APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers). You can also follow his blog on Lifebooks and adoption.