Kid Connection Tip: Family Frame-Up

Posted May 28, 2015 by jimhigley

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I’ve long had a love of frames.

Maybe that’s a result of my grandmother – my Mom’s mom – being a professional picture framer a thousand years ago. Even though I never met my grandmother, our home was filled with a few frames that she had made. One held a mirror. The others contained simple prints of landscapes.

The prints were worthless. But the frames were, at least in our family, priceless. Because they came from the hands of Grandma Lillian.

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One of my favorite memories with my own children involved frames, as well.

It was the holiday season about seven or eight years ago and, candidly, we were all frazzled with way too many things going on in our respective worlds. The older kids were cash-poor and I wasn’t in a position to go crazy with gifts, either. So at Thanksgiving, we decided – the three kids and I – to do something different that year.

We were going to give each other a framed photograph of ourselves with each respective family member. And we agreed to be creative with the frames. That meant that I needed to give each of my three children a framed photo – decorated by me – with a photograph of the two of us. And they needed to do the same for me – and their two siblings.

Twelve frames total. Each of the four of us making three frames.

The craft part was fun. For sure. And everyone had a different strategy. One child opted for hand-painting designs. Another chose a collage-of-sorts solution. Another took a pen and simple wrote a letter – wrapped around the perimeter of each frame.

All sweet.

But the true value in what we did was found in the selection process of “just the right” photo. I remember the sense of awe I had as I watched each child comb through piles of photo – digital and printed – to find the photos they felt best represented the relationship and bond they had with each other. Brother to brother. Brother to sister. Sister to brother. Parent to child.

And the best – at least from this dad’s perspective: child to parent.

Like you, our family has hundreds – if not thousands – of photos that fill our cell phones, our computers and our scrapbooks.

But that holiday season, we boiled the overload of photos – and everything else – down to twelve photos. Each one selected with delicate care. Each one unique.

Just like the twelve relationships within our family unit.

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This memory is part of a series of stories I’m sharing during the months of May and June – highlighting the importance of connecting with our children. These memories are brought to you by the wonderful folks at Kimberly-Clark who have compensated me for my writing. All opinions are my own. 

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