Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Taking It Home: Methods Of Gathering Narratives And Texts

Part of Families

. . . the story of a man who saw three fellows laying bricks at a new building:
He approached the first and asked, "What are you doing?"
Clearly irritated, the first man responded, "What the heck do you think I'm doing? I'm laying these darn bricks!"
He then walked over to the second bricklayer and asked the same question.
The second fellow responded, "Oh, I'm making a living."
He approached the third bricklayer with the same question, "What are you doing?"
The third looked up, smiled and said, "I'm building a cathedral."
At the end of the day, who feels better about how he's spent his last eight hours? - Joan Borysenko


We started analyzing the pictures we took of families at the first Family Event and discussed what will happen at Family Event 2. We practiced interviewing and experienced what it is like to create a write-back about a photo.


Ask family members if they have any suggestions for good interviewing techniques. Practice your interviews on family and friends.


Offer the question, If you could choose a slogan for your family, what would it be?


Ask each member of your family to tell you a favorite family story. Consider asking for the stories at dinner or when you are riding in the car. The stories can be from the present, the storytellers' younger years, or the family's long-ago history. One fun family project is to record family stories and preserve them. You can make recordings on computer and put them on CD. They make wonderful gifts.


We are often too busy in our days to take time to tell one another stories. Start a family story jar. During the week, collect ideas from everyone about a story they would like to hear. For instance, you can start with these:

  • What was it like at dinnertime in your house when you were growing up?
  • What was your favorite family vacation?
  • What is the funniest thing you can remember from your elementary school years?
  • Tell a story about a particularly good snowy day adventure or, if you do not live where there is snow, tell about a great storm.
  • Tell about the first time you made cookies or a cake or dinner for a friend.

Designate a night of the week to pick a topic from the story jar and share stories. Serve cocoa and popcorn!


Create a family book—a story that records a celebration, family vacation, or one day in the life of your family. Sit down with your family and decide what event you would like to record. Make a storyboard using a basic outline and pictures that you want to draw or photograph. Write the story together and illustrate it. You can do it on the computer if you like. You can use a blank book or photo album and include several stories. You can produce individual pages, then take them to a copy center that can bind them. Such a book will make a great keepsake to share with future generations or to look back on in years to come.