Monday, November 10, 2008

Guest Blogger : Shaping a Godly Heritage through Faithbooking

As parents and teachers, church workers and community members, it's one of our chief jobs to hand the children within our reach a heritage. Some families have passed down alcohol or nicotine addictions to their children. Other children have received emotional wounds left from various forms of abuse and neglect, at their parents' hands. No one intends to do this, so why does it happen? Probably because so few of us step away from all the busy-work that comes with our tasks of clipping little nails and brushing teeth and washing the clothes and cleaning house and picking up the toys; having the sex talk with our teenagers and giving them driving lessons, to get some perspective on our lives as well as theirs.

We cannot pass perspective on to our children if we don't have it ourselves! Take some time, while doing dishes or sweeping the floor, to occupy your brain with this thought: what ideas and attitudes and values am I really passing down to my children?

Ask God to show you how He sees you; your children. That's step number one to getting perspective. For example, some people think being humble means thinking poorly of oneself and highly of others. Others think humility is the epitome of seeing yourself precisely the way God sees you (valuable, powerful, important, beloved...). Depending on which of these views you hold, you will pass down different values to your children, whether you mean to or not.

There are thousands of these questions we need to reexamine in our hearts on a frequent basis to be sure the corrupt spirit of the world has not tained our view of God and ourselves and the rest of the world.

So where am I going with all of this? Allow me to explain. I have spent more than a decade being an avid photographer of my family and scrapbooker. Are all of my pictures in albums today? No. But the ones that are, are there because I had specific messages to send to my children.

A few years ago, scrapbooking was considered the fastest growing sector of the crafting industry, and for all I know it still may be. Some people began scrapbooking to have an artistic outlet. That's me. Some people were eager to have their pictures in order instead of spread all over their house in total chaos and disarray. That was me too. Some people earned a little income for their families selling the really good stuff. Uh-huh, also myself. Some treated their albums as an excuse to meet with their friends and chat (boy I enjoyed this part, and yet it didn't really lead to albums getting done). All this to say, different people pick up their pictures and memorabilia and scrapbooking supplies for different reasons.

But there is one movement within the scrapbooking world that does all of the above and SO much more. It's called Faithbooking.

If you're organizing your pictures for the very first time in your life, you might begin to group them chronologically. Or you might make piles of pictures to put into each child's own albums that they'll take with them when they grow up and start a family of their own. You might group them according to themes like birthday parties or vacations.

But what if you did more than just chronicle where you went and what you did in those albums about your life? I think when I get out my album supplies, God is looking down on my joy over stickers and pens and patterned papers (my toys!) to complement my pictures, and He's smiling. But imagine His out and out joy when I use my albums to convey His values to my children - when I choose what I write about, and how I write it to tell my kids how important they are to Him. Think of the tool that your albums, even ones with very simple pages, can be in shaping the way your children see themselves and the world around them.

Photo safe albums, pens, and adhesives are all you need to get started with faithbooks. Oh, and you need perspective - the kind I mentioned earlier. No stickers, no papers, no die-cuts are necessary. Pictures don't even have to be grouped according to events or years, because the theme of the album is all about focusing your kids on God's faithfulness in their lives. Let this blow your mind - the things you write on the album pages don't even have to comment on the pictures you apply in the album! You can copy out your favorite Bible verses onto the pages or tell stories about their prayers God answered when they were small and too young to remember for themselves.

God forbid a parent is ever separated from his or her child by war or death or unfortunate circumstances, permanently or for any length of time, but if it happens, an album that reminds that child (even a grown one) where he or she has come from and where he or she is going based on God's purposes, will be visited over and over again in life. And what will that child (or one who never lacks for a parent with a clear view of God's will) gain in the process? Learning line upon line and precept upon precept who he is and who God is and what is the meaning of life from God's view. (And you thought I was rambling, but) Perspective! In a simple album with a few precious pictures, we can convey how much we love our children, how much God loves them, and we can give them the gift of knowing from an early point in life exactly what his or her place is in this world.

I'll part with the following, one of my favorite quotes of all time, by one of my favorite people of all time. Of course I see it as something to implement in many ways, among them through my scrapbooks:

"There is a richness of family heritage in each person's life that will be lost if it is not passed on to the next generation. To preserve this heritage for our children, we must tell them where we've been, and how we got to this moment Sharing about our faith, about our early family experiences, about the obstacles we overcame, or the failures we suffered, can bring a family together and give it a sense of identity. The stories of your past, of your childhood, of the courtship of your spouse, etc. can be treasures to be given to your children. Unless you share those experiences with them, that part of their history will be gone forever. Take the time to make your yesterday come alive for your family."
-Dr. James Dobson, Home of the Heart

And along similar lines, few of us will be leaving our children controlling interest in multi-million dollar businesses, but look at the following through the eyes of a future Faithbooker:

"A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children" - Proverbs 13:22

The most valuable things we can give to our children cannot be bought for any price, and only we can choose to pass along that richness to them, or else withhold it at everyone's expense. If we don't fill the children in our lives up with all of God's goodness and His world view, what will the world fill them with? They will grow to have a perspective of one sort or another, and it's up to you and me to help them find the one that will enable them to live a rich and full life, God's way. Faithbooking is one small step in that direction

Tina Nettles
homeschool mom and avid scrapbooker

Tina is a Creative Memories consultant and avid scrapbooker. She also is occupied keeping her castle, tending the royal garden, homeschooling, reading, and organizing activities for her church youth department. Her current castle is in Tulsa,Ok. She holds court with her husband Dan, sons Josh and Jordan, and two Dogs Sir Galahad and Lady Kensyton. She can be reached by email at the_nettles_family@yahoo.com.

3 comments:

Valerie Neal said...

Thank you Tina for sharing with us, I am not a scrapbooker, just one more excuse for me to spend money I don't have, which is what I tend to do when finding a new hobby. I will however Faithbook, as I am now a grandmother, and also a mother of a Army National Guard Soldier. Thank you. Angela, way to go you got a guest blogger I am so proud of you, and to think I came to post for Mana Monday and tell everyone my mana story....

Valerie Neal

Angela said...

Oops... sorry... I forgot to tell you I had that planned for next week... but please do share here :)

Off to type my soap box... ;)

ScrapPerfections! said...

I love your article on faithbooking. I have been doing some research on this topic to teach at a class at a Christian scrapbook retreat. Your article by far is the most touching and informative that I have read. Do you mind if I quote you in my class materials? and/or direct the ladies to your blog?