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Build Connection: How Photos Create A Sense Of Belonging in Kids

This is a post by my photo mentor and friend, Beryl Ayn Young. I hope you pop over to her site and register for her completely free two-week class, Embrace Your Phone: A Start To Finish System For Printing and Preserving The Endless Photos In Your Pocket beginning October 26th, 2015.  ~Alissa

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By Beryl Ayn Young

I know how hard you work to build a house that feels like a home.

You want your kids and family to know they're loved, so you work to fill each day with memories that bring happiness and joy.

Perhaps you even capture a few of those memories with a phone or camera, so your little ones have visual proof of the smiles, the fun, and the laughter you shared.

Or maybe you realize that the time is passing by so quickly and you snap photos to document the changes in their personalities, their interests, and their appearance so that you don’t forget.

For me that’s what taking a photo is all about.

Connection and remembrance.

It’s not about capturing magazine worthy images of us all perfectly dressed. It’s not about capturing our perfectly clean home. And it’s not about being behind the lens 24/7 capturing every little detail.

It’s about snapping intentionally and in a way that builds deeper connections.

More than that even – I believe it’s our personal duty to preserve our images so they bring us to a place of belonging. Our photos show us that we belong to someone. That we matter. That we’re valued. That we’re safe.

Embraced.

Home.

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But there's one key to really building connection with photos that's often neglected in our digital age.

We have to print our images to bring our desire for connection and remembrance full circle.

So many of us simply share our images through a screen with a Facebook share, quick text, or post to our Instagram feed.  This can be a lovely way to share with people far away, but it’s the viewing of our printed images and re-telling of our stories where the real power lies.

Sitting down with our favorite people and looking at photos, that, in a word feels like HOME. It allows space for feelings of connection, love, togetherness, peace, security. Don’t we all want to feel that way?

It's much harder to claim a feeling of being centered or grounded by our images when they’re blaring at us from the bright light of a screen. The most important part of our photos is making sure that we’re not holding them hostage digitally.

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Becoming Your Family's Historian

In the past year, I’ve devoted myself to the important task of printing and preserving our family photos as a means of creating deeper more meaningful connections with my family.

It’s taken time, and commitment, and dedication to sort through my 30,000+ photos and finally get them off the devices into print. The results of this commitment however, has been a reminder of just how important my role as family historian is to my family’s well being.

A few months ago, I was in the middle of working on the computer, attempting to finish one of my many photo books, when my daughter came snuggling up next to me on the couch.

She laid her head on my shoulder and watched intently for a few minutes. Then she began asking question after question about the images on the screen:

When was that?

Where were we?

Was I a baby?

Who else was there?

What was I eating?

What was I holding?

As she continued to watch, I could tell she was increasingly getting frustrated that she wasn’t able to hold the photos in her hands. She didn’t have control over them to pause and observe just a bit longer. The single images on a screen didn’t tell a cohesive story. And we had to uncomfortably squeeze together to share in the experience.

As discomfort set in, she slunk off the couch and approached the two albums we have sitting  on a shelf in our family room instead. She pulled one off the shelf, our mommy daughter trip to Florida in 2013, a favorite of hers.

She returned to the couch and snuggled back up next to me and announced:

“Mommy put the computer away and look at these pictures with me!”

That’s the power of a printed image.

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Getting photo books in the mail and sitting down to browse them together on the couch as a family felt cozy and spacious. We felt more ALIVE.

How can we get past overwhelm and get photos printed?

It can be overwhelming to think about printing – especially if your photos are disorganized, your schedule is jam packed, and you’re not sure where to begin the process. The motivation to start has to come from reminding yourself of the feelings you’ll be gifted from the final product.

So today, when you finish reading I want you to go grab an album, some prints, or any photos you have in your home.

Sit down in a quiet space and look at them with your family.

Anything is fair game, it doesn’t have to be photos of your kids. My daughter LOVES looking through old photos of my husband and I. Our wedding album, our college days, our own childhood albums.

Take time to note how you feel once you’re done.

Then commit yourself to printing some photos in the coming weeks. If you want some guidance and motivation I’ll be here to guide and support you with my upcoming Embrace Your Photo mini class During the two week free course we'll get some of your favorite photos off your phone and into your hands for good. Get all the details or register HERE. We begin October 26th.

rediscovering YOU through photography (2)Beryl Ayn Young is an old soul who is most content sipping lattés and connecting with friends new and old. She's a lover of warm weather, Chipotle burrito bowls, TOMs shoes, and snuggles from her mini me. She's swapped days of teaching Kindergarteners how to read and write for weekends and evenings of teaching moms how to love their cameras and their life. Pop over to her site and register for a completely free two-week class, Embrace Your Phone: A Start To Finish System For Printing and Preserving The Endless Photos In Your Pocket beginning October 26th, 2015.