“There are two great gifts we can give our children: One is roots; the other, wings.” -Chinese proverb
When you become a mom, your place in the great cycle of life shifts, and you and your partner are responsible for bringing another person into your families, cultivating and nurturing your own family and transforming your relationship with grandparents, parents, and siblings in the process. You have the opportunity to pull from different influences on both sides of your family as you forge your own way. This is a huge opportunity and can be a challenge to figure out what of your upbringing and your partner’s upbringing you want to pass on, and which things you need to leave behind.
Adding a New Branch to Your Family Tree
I am excited to share this art and writing exercise that we did in our recent Art of Motherhood classes this winter and spring. I invite you to carve out a little creative time for yourself to give this a try. Through this process you will have the opportunity to explore your new place in the family tree. In preparation for your art making, please create a list of all of the family members you would like to include in this process. Then please brainstorm on at least five positive qualities about each of those family members that you would like to pass on your child(ren). Examples include: compassionate, innovative, generous, thoughtful…) If there are things that come up that you want to do differently or that you don’t want to pass on, feel free to make a list of those, they could be part of another creative process of letting go.
Create your own family tree, highlighting qualities from all of the different family members that you want to pass on to your child. Through this process, you can also experiment with incorporating words into your image. You can explore this concept literally or metaphorically, with the goal of creating a visual that honors the rich legacy you want to pass on to your child(ren).
Give Your Child The Gift of Legacy
Check out this recently released video to learn more about Family Heirloom Arts services and programs. You will see a feature in the video about the Art of Motherhood program. As the founder of Family Heirloom Arts, I am excited to have the chance to share my passion for helping families celebrate and preserve their life stories.
When I created a photo book honoring my son’s first year of life, I made sure to include pictures of all of his great-grandparents. Though he would never get a chance to meet them, as both my husband and I lost our last remaining grandparents within a few months of when our son was born, I feel that it is important for our son to have a strong sense of where he came from. I am currently working on recording and preserving our family stories, so when our son is old enough, he will have a place to go to learn about our family.
Lisa Kagan is an artist, writer, educator and personal historian. She believes in the transformative nature of the creative process to heal, empower, challenge, inform, and awaken the human spirit. Her business, Family Heirloom Arts, is dedicated to helping people celebrate their life stories through the creation of illustrated heirloom books. She is also the founder of the Art of Motherhood program, offering creative writing and art programs for mothers of young children. Lisa has published a book of her original poetry and art entitled Emergence. Selected material from the work showcased in the online Art of Motherhood Community Gallery will also be featured in Lisa’s upcoming illustrated book, the Art of Motherhood Anthology, which is currently underway. This anthology is a collection of art and writing by mother artists and writers from around the country exploring themes central to the early years of motherhood. Lisa lives with her husband and their four-year-old son in Portland, Oregon.