"" Writer's Wanderings: The Family Tree

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Family Tree

[Having just had all of our children and grandchildren together for the first time in I don't know how many years, I thought this was kind of an appropriate time to post this article I wrote a while back.]

Many of us were blessed to be able to spend time with close family and even some extended family this past holiday season. When we don’t get together often, it gets more difficult to explain to grandchildren how all these people are related to them. While kids generally are more interested in just playing with all the cousins, it is nice to inspire a little interest in family history. While genealogy has never been a burning interest of mine, it has been fun lately to make connections with cousins I haven’t seen in years. Of course that always brings up the question of where they belong on our rather large Family Tree.

Mentioning the Family Tree to your young grandchildren might inspire images of a large oak or maple tree with people sitting on the branches. Actually, that’s not a bad way to begin to teach them about the family heritage. But don’t hang Uncle Vito out on a limb yet. Try this idea I gleaned from one of my creative daughters-in-law.

Gather pictures from your family but don’t go too far back. For younger grands ancient family history is too much to grasp right now but hopefully this project will instill a curiosity for later in life. Start with the child’s grandparents—you and the in-laws. Then gather pictures of your adult child and his/her spouse. Next find pictures of your grand/s. If you scan the pictures into your computer (or have someone do this for you), with a little help from some editing software, you can reduce the size and even put a little frame around each picture. Then print them out on your printer on a sheet of regular paper.

Next, find a picture of a tree in a coloring book, or scan one from a magazine and print it out on a full sheet of paper. Sit down with your grand and let him/her cut out the faces of the family members you have collected. At the top of the tree on one side have them glue or tape the pictures of the parents of Mom and on the other side, the parents of Dad.

On a lower branch, under the appropriate parents, place Mom and Dad. Then, in the middle of the tree, your grand can paste his/her picture and those of the siblings if there are any. What you have is a visual explanation of how everyone is related—simple enough for a young one to understand.

For those grands who want to expand on this, make it a family project the next time everyone is together. They can take their own pictures and figure out where everyone fits on the tree. Maybe you could even make a large tree on brown wrapping paper, tape it up somewhere at the house and let them add their pictures where they fit into the family.

Now be careful. This can lead to phone calls like the one I got one day from a grandson who wanted me to put his daddy in time-out because I was his mommy and I could do that.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...