project life can save the world.
Stating that Project Life can save the world … maybe that’s a little dramatic. But humor me for just a moment.
There was an article in the New York Times that was published about a month ago. One of our readers/customers brought it to our attention, and for that I am very grateful. It’s called The Stories That Bind Us. I invite you to read it. Really.
I’m not going to pull a bunch of quotes, review the article, or repeat what the author shared. That’s why you need to read it. But I can’t help but feel a strong sense of community among those of us who have this love for documenting life. There’s just something about it, know what I mean? But have you taken the time to really think about WHY it means so much to you and your family?
Many of you have. Many of you have identified exactly what it means to your family – and specifically what Project Life means to you, because of the back-to-basics approach of putting pictures and stories together in a simple, do-able format. We receive testimonials every day from Project Lifers. Some are traditional families living traditional lives. Some are empty-nesters and others are single adults. We even hear from teenagers once in a while! We also hear from cancer survivors. We hear from those who are helping someone with a terminal illness record their life, using Project Life. We hear from those who have struggled in various ways, and they have found that recording the little moments of their life reminds them of how blessed they are.
In context of this New York Times article, I also had a very interesting experience over the weekend. If you follow my picture-sharing on instagram, facebook, or twitter, you may have noticed that we received our 2012 Higgins Family Yearbooks, which I create using the Project Life designs on Shutterfly. It’s something I’ll blog about in more detail soon. I know you have questions – which is great, and I’m excited to share more about this with you.
But here’s what I experienced: I sat the kids down and was totally a dork mom “presenting” the new Family Yearbooks to them (we print a copy for each child). In that moment, and based on their reaction, I realized that they hadn’t really been very familiar with our Family Yearbooks. Their individual scrapbooks that are all about them? Yes. But these Family Yearbooks that show more of them in the context of our family unit – and so many pictures of friends and extended family and the world around us? Nope. They really hadn’t seen them much at all lately and in fact, kind of forgot we had them.
Shame on me. I have been keeping these books on a shelf that has cupboard doors – you know, to keep them nice. To keep them in good shape. We have little friends over all the time so perhaps I didn’t want too many little hands messing up the pages. Who knows. It doesn’t matter. What I learned was what I read in their faces for the next 20 minutes or so, as their noses were practically pressed in the pages of these books. They were glued. They were entertained. They were incredibly reminiscent.
What they – as young children – don’t necessarily understand right now, is something that we as adults should understand. By having these memories and these stories recorded, children are truly building up their sense of belonging. Their self worth increases. Having journals, photos books, scrapbooks … I don’t care what method you use … can absolutely strengthen the family, which is undeniably the most important unit in society. And with stronger families, we have fewer problems. And that’s how we can save the world. : )
But seriously – do you feel what I’m feeling? It’s remarkable. Most of you reading this are documenting life in some way. That is awesome. The key for all of us, is to be sure that our families can enjoy this documentation. And this is precisely why Project Life is creating such a movement. We’re all busy. Most of us don’t have time to spent 3 hours a day creating elaborate layouts. Project Life takes so much confusion and guesswork out of the equation and we are honored to be the memory-keeping system of choice for so many.
I have to point out something. I know without a doubt that some of you might have that feeling of guilt. I hate guilt. It’s not cool. Please do not feel guilty if you have not been recording your story or writing in journals or taking lots of pictures or putting pictures and stories together in books. That’s not the point of this post. Please join me in feeling MOTIVATED – not guilty.
I felt incredible motivation after watching my kids pick up their Family Yearbooks over and over and over this weekend. So much that I finished up another year (2009) that was still unfinished. Now 4 copies of that book are on their way too! I feel motivated to get to David’s childhood and my childhood books. And our family history books. And other projects that are all story-telling and life-documenting related projects. Of course it’s not all going to happen at once.
But it’s not going to happen at all – unless you choose to feel motivated. I want to help strengthen the family. I want to ease your burdens. I want to continue hearing your success stories of how you’re cultivating a good life and recording it. Anyone is welcome – at any time – to share how Project Life is helping them.
I’ll close by quoting the closing line of the New York Times article that seriously, I think you should read:
“The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.”