“Family Photo Gallery,” Ensign, June 1999, 73
Not long ago my only brother surprised me with a visit. Since we live 1,000 miles apart, we seldom get a chance to see each other. I threw my arms around him in welcome, then he bent down to greet my children. They backed away and glanced questioningly at me. I realized my children didn’t even recognize their uncle!
Later I wondered what I could do to help my children know their relatives better. I remembered reading about family portrait galleries and decided that we would have one of our own.
At the top of the stairs in our house is a long hall, perfect for hanging family photos. In the center of our portrait gallery I hung a cross-stitched picture of the temple where my husband and I were sealed to remind us that families can be forever. Around it I hung photos in family groupings, including photographs of extended family members at different ages.
Our photo gallery led my children to ask questions and make many observations. The children noticed similarities in appearance among family members at different ages, and they saw how some family members had changed over the years while others still looked the same.
Another benefit of our family portrait gallery is that the children have been able to sort out their relationships to other family members. Now they understand how Granny is also my mother, why they have two sets of grandparents, how cousins fit in, and how uncles and aunts are their parents’ brothers and sisters.
Our gallery may be simple, but it has helped us feel closer to our relatives. Now, whenever my children see my brother, they know him by sight, and they also recognize many cousins and other relatives they rarely see in person.—Collette Burgoyne, Hout Bay, South Africa