Your challenge this week: to gather together your children’s artwork, certificates, memories or mementoes and collate, display them or gather them in a safe place that can be kept and reminisced over in the future.
This challenge encourages the following values:
Kindness, Gratitude, Creativity, Resourcefulness, Patience, Commitment.
What you need to complete your challenge this week:
- Choose what you want to keepsake (we have chosen to scrapbook my son’s sports certificates)
- Find all the loose, dusty, barely filed, lost in drawers and feared forgotten forever certificates or photos or tickets or shell collections.
- Choose how you want to compile these items. Scrapbook, file, keepsake box or photo album are just a few ideas. Some of these you may already have at home for your children to decorate or customise, otherwise pop to a craft shop and spend a few pounds to buy a scrapbook or album and some stickers or other embellishments.
- Find a few hours to sit down together and recall the memories. Identify what feels important or special, write messages or notes that will serve as reminders and start to compile your precious keepsakes.
If all else fails… find a shoebox and gather together as many of these loose but important special items so they don’t get lost. Put that shoebox in a safe place.
Food for thought for the grown-ups:
This is a simple but very rewarding little challenge and I hope this next bit will strike a chord. How many of you, like me, have a drawer, often found in the kitchen, with your children’s ‘artwork’ or ‘certificates’ or ‘pine cone collection’ (yes you read that correctly and yes I have one of these, courtesy of my youngest son) placed lovingly inside. We have this drawer because to keep these items is an unwritten law despite knowing we’ll forget about them immediately. To put most of these items in the recycling would, of course, probably be the most sensible thing to do BUT would be sacrilege and worthy of a call to social services so into the ‘to sort out later drawer’ they go. It’s a safe place, you are keeping it, so, therefore, no guilt. But, there it sits for months nay years before you a) forget which of your wonderful offspring actually produced the masterpiece and b) question why you thought to keep a piece of torn paper, slathered in crusty paint and ALL OF THE GLITTER which has now fallen off and is in the bottom of the drawer was a good idea! So here we are, your challenge is to gather this stuff, and with your child, give it a home, keep it safe and actually enjoy and appreciate it.
This challenge is beneficial for some very simple reasons. Your children will see that you value their efforts and care about their achievements. The process will give you the opportunity to go through some good memories with them one to one, something our children want and need more than ever in these busy and crazy days of being a parent. The challenge will also take away that fear that you might lose those important memories and the guilt that we aren’t paying enough attention to our children’s achievements… It will also free up some space in the ‘to sort out later drawer’! Win win!
On a personal note and without wanting to make this piece melancholy in any way, I made a scrapbook for my Dad before he passed away a few years ago, I gave it to him for Father’s Day. Rewind 4 or 5 years before he died, I spent months helping my Dad go through his belongings before he moved house. It was a downsize kind of move and he was a bit of a collector of everything. He had so many things from his childhood, his time in the army, as a member of the NFU and as a mature student. This stuff was in boxes, lying around and filed in odd places which I’d never remember I started squirrelling them away unbeknownst to him. I held onto them for years up until he got ill when I decided to collate it all in an album. He loved it and was rather surprised at how much stuff I had collected but I think he was pleased to know all his important mementoes would be kept safe for years to come. He passed away 3 weeks after I gave it to him. I look after it now and still add to it from time to time. It’s very special to me and in time I hope it will be fascinating for my children to go through.
And for the children:
“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
Your children’s achievements, whether that be artwork, photographs, certificates or a pebble collection, deserve a home, a place where they can be protected for the future, reminisced over (and sobbed over by you after a glass or two of wine, crying for those baby days again when they didn’t argue and leave their socks down the side of their beds!). Being creative with your children is one of the best lessons you can teach them.
The process of collecting all their artwork (or pebbles), sitting together to work on their project and the process of talking about where and when and how you came by these things gives your child a feeling of worth. Their efforts are being validated. For little ones, the creativity element, choosing what to scrapbook or collect is vital in giving them freedom from the restraints of order, perfection and worrying about ‘doing things the right way’. The cutting and sticking parts of the project are fun, they are exercising their fine and gross motor skills and learning about placing value on their own creations. For bigger children writing a line or two about a memory along with their photo or certificate, adding stickers and customising gives them a chance to personalise their project, make it theirs, make it special.
So go for it, gather all those special things that you would be so sad to lose and put a little love into keeping them safe. Do it for yourself as I did making my Dad’s album a few years ago or for your children as I did with my son in making his certificates album. Value your past, your children’s achievements and everyone’s memories, they deserve a place that is not the ‘to sort out later drawer’.