Scrapbook “Your” Story #6: You and Family

by Debbie Hodge
This is number 6 in an 11-part series full of ideas for making scrapbook pages about yourself.

consider yourself: you and family

In this session we’re talking about scrapping YOU and family. On other pages you can present the stories of your family members, but here, take some time to think about your role in your family (or even families). Think about the following as you develop your pages.

source: stock.xchng / vancity192

what is family for you?

Do you have multiple families? Extended and nuclear? Step-families? In-laws? Friends who have become a family? What role does family play in your life? How much does it demand of you and what does it give to you.

who are you within your family?

Don’t think so much about how you have mother as about how you are a mother, daughter (or son). Think about your position/role. Make a list of all the different family positions you hold (sibling, grandchild, aunt . . .) and consider what these positions mean to you. How have they affected you and how have you affected family members. You can use the chart on page 3 to brainstorm about this topic.

When I see myself in these photos with you boys, it’s always a bit of a surprise. It’s a moment when I say: oh, yeah! I *am* a mom. And the three of us look pretty happy. And, oh, sheesh! am I doing a good job? Have I been taking things seriously enough? What I mean is that while I’ve thought of myself as the diaper changer, the caretaker, the facilitator of all that has to happen to get us where we’re going minute by minute, I don’t consciously think: I am the mother and this a great honor and responsibility and this is how I’m going to do my mothering. In fact, tucked in around my daily mother-work, are thoughts of my own activities, a desire to sneak off to my office and create for a while. It seems that while I’m daily being a mother, I haven’t actually taken “mother” on as an identity the way I have many of my other pursuits and occupations. Is that because I never expected to be a stay-at-home mom? Whatever the reason, these photos make me realize that I am indeed a mom and I want to be daily more conscious of that and embrace that as my identity. Right now. Before I miss another day of thinking of myself this way. journaling: 03/08

what is/was the culture of your family/families?

Consider the following quote:

We know one another’s faults, virtues, catastrophes, mortifications, triumphs, rivalries, desires, and how long we can each hang by our hands to a bar. We  have been banded together under pack codes and tribal laws. -Rose Macaulay

Here are a few things to think about in defining the culture of your “tribe.”

  • —what do you call things? what  do you call each other? what are frequent expressions and sayings in your home?
  • —what role does work play in your family? what are the attitudes around it? how much time does it consume and what are both its benefits and detriments?
  • —what do you do for play in your family? and how often and well do you play?
  • —how does your family celebrate holidays and other events? which holiday and events are most important?
  • —what role do faith and religion play in your family? and how did your family’s relationship with faith come about?
  • —how is money a factor in your family? how is it regarded? how hard is it to come by? what are your behaviors around spending and giving and what emotions are connected to money?
  • —what is your family’s social life? do non-family members play a major part in your family’s life?

priming the engine:  ask yourself this

  • list all of the ways you are a family member (i.e., sister, daughter, mother . . .)
  • pick one way; write it at the top of a piece of paper; free associate for 1 minute
  • what are some layouts you could do?

{repeat for other ways you are a family member}

Fill out this chart to generate topics to scrapbook and write about as well as title ideas. Open printable chart/pdf of “You and Family” chart.

think about it: quotations on family

  • Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of long ago – the baby, the peacekeeper, the caretaker, the avoider…. It doesn’t seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we’ve traveled. -Jane Mersky Leder
  • There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.  -Chinese Proverb
  • All fathers are invisible in daytime; daytime is ruled by mothers and fathers come out at night. Darkness brings home fathers, with their real, unspeakable power. There is more to fathers than meets the eye. – Margaret Atwood
  • Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.  -Pearl S. Buck
  • “My father was an amazing man. The older I got, the smarter he got.” – Mark Twain
  • We know one another’s faults, virtues, catastrophes, mortifications, triumphs, rivalries, desires, and how long we can each hang by our hands to a bar. We have been banded together under pack codes and tribal laws. -Rose Macaulay
  • If you don’t believe in ghosts, you’ve never been to a family reunion.  -Ashleigh Brilliant
  • The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.  -Erma Bombeck
  • The great advantage of living in a large family is that early lesson of life’s essential unfairness.  -Nancy Mitford
  • “The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.” -Kendall Hailey
  • Family faces are magic mirrors.  Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.  -Gail Lumet Buckley
  • Govern a family as you would cook a small fish – very gently. –Chinese Proverb
  • A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on. – Carl Sandburg
  • “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” – George Moore
  • “A child tells in the street what its father and mother say at home.” -The Talmud
  • It’s not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.  -Joyce Maynard
  • Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.  -Robert Fulghum
  • There are two lasting bequests we can give our children.  One is roots.  The other is wings.  -Hodding Carter, Jr.
  • Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.  -Oscar Wilde
  • The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.  -Rajneesh
  • Sweater, n.:  garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.  -Ambrose Bierce
  • “Making the decision to have a child-it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” -Elizabeth Stone

write it: journaling prompts

My sibling(s) and I always thought it was hilarious to _____.

It was always so embarrassing when my (mom/dad/brother/sister . . . ) would _____.

The hardest part about being a (insert family role) is _____.

My family eats dinner _____.

Being a _____(insert family role) is something I’m still learning how to do.

I’m known as the _____ one in the family.

The first person I’d talk to at a family reunion is _____.

My siblings think it’s amusing to annoy me by talking about _____.

The trait I’m most surprised by in (insert child) is _____ because she/he sure didn’t get that from me.

The thing I do like about my (mom/dad) that I never thought I would is_____.

When I see myself in these photos with you boys, it’s always a bit of a surprise. It’s a moment when I say: oh, yeah! I *am* a mom. And the three of us look pretty happy. And, oh, sheesh! am I doing a good job? Have I been taking things seriously enough? What I mean is that while I’ve thought of myself as the diaper changer, the caretaker, the facilitator of all that has to happen to get us where we’re going minute by minute, I don’t consciously think: I am the mother and this a great honor and responsibility and this is how I’m going to do my mothering. In fact, tucked in around my daily mother-work, are thoughts of my own activities, a desire to sneak off to my office and create for a while. It seems that while I’m daily being a mother, I haven’t actually taken “mother” on as an identity the way I have many of my other pursuits and occupations. Is that because I never expected to be a stay-at-home mom? Whatever the reason, these photos make me realize that I am indeed a mom and I want to be daily more conscious of that and embrace that as my identity. Right now. Before I miss another day of thinking of myself this way. journaling: 03/08

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