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Digital cameras make snapshots easy, but they often end up in forgotten computer folders.

A few years back, Max was hosting a Christmas party in his new home. Recently married, this was his first gathering of friends since both his parents had died. Max’s mother and father had always hosted an open house and Max wanted to continue the tradition. Upon our arrival, he gave us a tour of his new home. Vivid is my memory of the hallway lined with family photographs. Brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents laughing and smiling from places all over the world for over 70 years.

Max told us story after story from the gallery of pictures. I knew then that he had the strength to deal with the loss of his parents and that this wall of happy memories would help Max get through the rough stuff. His pictures inspired my husband and me to create a wall full of photos that we affectionately call our “Rogues Gallery.”

With digital cameras and computers, our pictures are at risk of not being incorporated into our everyday life. Photos are powerful images to remind us of the happy times in our families and inspire us to create those events. In the day-to-day stresses of our lives, we can misplace our warm and endearing moments. After we’ve been up three nights in a row with a sick cranky child, a picture of him or her in a Halloween costume laughing can help put everything in perspective. When our surly teenager stomps through the house, the gallery can help us remember this age is only “temporary.” A picture is truly worth a thousand words.

Our Rogues Gallery started with a few pictures in our bedroom. When we moved to a two-story house, the gallery fit perfectly on the landing of the staircase. Snapshots, formal portraits, handmade cards and drawings make up our gallery. These pictures have served as a daily reminder of what is truly important in our lives, our family and the love that gets us through the good times as well as the difficult times.

With the divorce rate in America approaching the 60 percent mark, we need to do all we can to remember and celebrate the joyous moments in our family. There will always be trying times in our lives, times when we might want to give up in frustration. Displayed photos help us remember that “This too shall pass.”

Create a family photo gallery in your home. Don’t hide family memories in your computer, in your phone, in an album, or in boxes. Get those pictures out where everyone can enjoy them. Remembering the fun times will strengthen the bonds in your family, bonds that will be difficult to break.

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Kids Talk™ is an award-winning column by Maren Stark Schmidt, M.Ed. dealing with childhood development issues. She has authored Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents, based on 25+ years of experience with young children. Learn more at marenschmidt.com.

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