We have been thinking about our own childhood experiences for the last two labs (if this has been hard, I promise we will lighten up soon) This sort of reflection can be invigorating or draining, I know.
I think it is inevitable as we become parents we rethink our own experiences growing up. I know in my case, I always thought I had a pretty good childhood. I felt loved, safe, and appreciated. But still, little things bubbled up as I began to parent. This is an inevitable part of every parenting journey. I began realizing why I behave in certain ways or have little tolerance for particular behaviors. I have gone through periods of anger and resentment. Luckily, finally, I ended feeling accepting of my past and resolved to move on.
Understanding how my childhood shaped me has helped me be such a better parent. I have been able to stop certain family habits and catch myself before I engage in other negative behaviors.
Of course, there are still things I have a hard time controlling and I am always working on those (chiefly a lack of patience and angry outbursts).
I believe we are all works in progress and sometimes our machinery gets gunked up and needs a recalibration.
Even though we can not do full therapy sessions in this lab, I am offering a few ways of accessing the past which have the potential to heal or become celebrations. Whichever you need.
Today, pull out a photograph from your childhood, we are going to write about it for 10 minutes.
If you really get into a flow, keep going, no doubt something you might have forgotten will come up. If you are stuck, try describing the physical surroundings and your memories about how things felt, smelt, tasted etc.
If you can, think about ways your childhood was different that your child's. Both good and bad. Write and dig and keep writing.
When you are done, think about keep the two together in your journal or photo album.
Share your photo and experience with the group in the comments if you can.
Have a family story time and work on developing stories from your childhood to share with your kids.
Some of my kids' favorite stories (near myths at this point) are tales from my husband's and my childhood. I am surprised at how much they want to hear them retold.
These stories connect our children to us, but also to themselves - as essentially, they are their stories too.
This is not formal. Just lay in bed and start remembering with, "When I was a kid..." It is good if both parents are there to compare childhoods.
Please share in the comments. Do you do this already? What is a favorite story that your children love?
I love photography, especially vernacular photography (photos taken by every day people of ordinary life).
Here are some links exploring the photography of the everyday.
The inspirational way family photos were recovered and saved after 2011 Tsunami in Japan. Here.