When guests visit a home with small children, a child may grab the guest by the fingers and parade over to the wondrous fridge that not only keeps the juice cold, but also proudly displays the most recent masterpiece. “Look what I did!”, exclaims the child. The adult responds with accolades
and the child’s self-esteem grows.
When children are young, it’s relatively easy to convey their worth to the family and the love surrounding them. Toddlers know the world revolves around them, as their existence consists of ensuring their needs are met. There are lots of hugs, kisses, and I love you’s and the refrigerator becomes a location to celebrate accomplishments.
By the time a child is five, it is not uncommon to find the family fridge, and possibly Grandma’s, as well, covered with finger paintings, sticker pages, and stick drawings illustrating the family dog with Dad. Side note: It’s important to have the child indicate which figure represents the dog and which represents the person so you don’t embarrass yourself with a faulty guess.
When children grow, and possibly the family grows, as well, children learn that every birthday is not their birthday, and every block tower does not garner “ooh’s” and “aah’s”. Every member of a family should feel celebrated, loved, and valued at every age.
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”
– Desmond Tutu
And that is how my refrigerator remained cluttered with two teenagers in the house. A postcard arrives celebrating perfect attendance; it goes on the fridge. Earn a perfect score on a calculus exam? It goes on the fridge. “Here”, says the boy, “is this fridge-worthy?” It goes on the fridge.
While we enjoy the purpose behind the clutter, we found ourselves brushing into papers, accidentally knocking them to the floor. We rumpled and straightened. We weren’t taking care of the treasures we deemed worthy of recognition.
I wanted to continue honoring accomplishments while still being able to remember the color of the refrigerator. Using a collection of various sized clipboards, and metal plates with magnets, I created a wall collage to more artistically honor the kids’ endeavors.
Using a chalkboard centerpiece enables variation in the heading. We can script, “Look what we did!”, “Amazing!”, or simply letter the kids’ names. We can also celebrate achievements that do not provide a piece of memorabilia. A few examples include, “I was in a play!”, “ I got my license!”, and “I got my braces off!”.
My favorite aspect of this collage is the flexibility. The chalkboard, the clipboards, and the Command Strip removable mountings provide the framework for a changeable display, able to celebrate any “fridge-worthy” moment.
How do you celebrate and honor your family members? Share your idea by leaving a comment.
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Here are the mountings we used for our wall collage.