The expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” means if the picture tells the story, there is no need for words. While for some pictures this is true, I propose sometimes a photo warrants a thousand words. How about your family photos? Do you date them, identify the people in them, or describe the event that inspired it? How do you ensure those precious memories will endure?

As a young girl, I remember that every time I visited my grandmother’s house, I would pore over the basketful of family photos. I loved looking at those old pictures of my dad, uncles, and cousins. I learned the stories behind them from my grandma. Years ago, we retrieved a very old photo album from my husband’s family. It contained numerous old, black and white pictures of ancestors long passed. The problem; not one person was identified! It might as well have been a book of strangers. It was meaningless to us. This raises the question: How will future generations view your photos?

What are you doing with your priceless pictures? Are they residing on your phone? Have you downloaded them to your computer, or uploaded them to the cloud? If so, are they searchable? Maybe you’ve even printed them in a photobook. Great! If not, how will those irreplaceable family memories be preserved?

I intend for our grandchildren to know their ancestors and their stories, so my husband and I have committed to producing a family legacy book, complete with genealogies, photos, and family heritage stories. It’s our way of leaving a legacy of faith for the next generation. What records of your life stories and photos will you leave behind? I encourage you to make these pictures and the precious memories associated with them available to your loved ones. 

Your pictures represent stories that need telling—a written narrative that will last for generations to come. If you don’t have time to produce a photo book, consider writing a letter. I recently presented a workshop entitled, Family Snapshot Letter, with The Whole Story Source team. The idea was for people to select a photo and write a heartfelt letter to a person in the photo or to someone about the photo. It turned out to be an emotionally powerful event. Since then, I’ve committed to writing an accompanying letter with every special occasion card I send. You can create your own family tradition by writing legacy letters to your loved ones. These can be cherished now and discovered later by future generations!

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