consider yourself: the early years (childhood, adolescence, & teen)

The material of your first 18 years could probably generate several full albums. If that seems like an overwhelming idea to you, you’re not alone. I agree. An approach that is manageable (and that I would argue is best for the viewers of your scrapbooks) is to go “broad and shallow.” In other words, scrap pages that cover a variety of subjects (but not all the subjects) over a range of years.  Pages about select subjects that really compel come together like pieces of a collage to create a satisfying whole. And what might those subjects be? The following is the reporter’s approach covering who, what, where, when and why.

who were the people in your life?

Think about the family, teachers, friends, other folk in your early life, and for any one of them think about:

  • how they treated you
  • how you felt about them
  • things they might have said
  • places you went with them
  • things you did with them
  • their best/worst traits
  • their interests
  • if not family, how you came to know them

what . . .

  • was a typical day like?
  • chores did you do?
  • was your school like?
  • pets did you have?
  • clubs, extracurricular things did you do?
  • were you planning to be when you grew up?
  • did you do in your free time?

where . . .

  • did you live (micro to macro; i.e., your room to your community)?
  • did you vacation?
  • did you hang out for fun?
  • did you go after school?
  • did you go on weekends?
  • was your favorite place?
  • did you go alone/with friends/with family?


  • did you learn to ride a bike?
  • did you get your first job?
  • did you learn to drive?
  • did you first go on a sleep over?
  • did you change schools?
  • did you achieve other firsts or milestone moments?

how & why

  • were holidays celebrated in your home?
  • did you get to school?
  • was the mood at dinner in your home?
  • was your family different from/typical of other families?
  • were you encouraged/discouraged

priming the engine: ask yourself this

Answer these questions quickly. Don’t overthink it — just do it.

1) What are the colors of your childhood?

2) Beginning with these colors at the top of your page, free associate for one minute

3) WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT PHOTOS, list a layout(s) you might scrap from your childhood.

think about it: quotations about childhood.

  • Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will – Charles Baudelaire
  • There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.  – Graham Greene
  • Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing. – Aristotle
  • The only people who think children are carefree are the ones who’ve forgotten their own childhood. -Orson Scott Card
  • Home is where you hang your childhood, and Mississippi to me is the beauty spot of creation, a dark, wide spacious land that you can breathe in.  -Tennessee Williams
  • How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless. -Paul Bowles
  • Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. -Diane Ackerman
  • Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. -Anne Frank
  • Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore,
    And that’s what parents were created for. -Ogden Nash
  • Youth is like spring, an over-praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. -Samuel Butler
  • The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to. ~Dodie Smith
  • When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood – Sam Ewing

write it: journaling starters

I immediately liked _____ when I met him/her.

My first sleepover was with _____

I still occasionally sing the theme song from _____ (television show).

The car I learned to drive on was a _____

I decorated my room with _____

The thing I most liked (least liked) about my family was _____

We celebrated birthdays with _____

My most frequent playmate(s) was (were) _____

My favorite meal was _____

My mom’s day included _____

My dad’s day included _____

Social outings in my teen years were to _____

I had/didn’t have a best friend . . .

The best holiday in our home was _____

The neighbors did some things differently from us . . . .