1001 Tips for Military Families – Tip #419

Realistic Pictures – Tip #419

When your loved one is returning home they are often greeted with a slide show or movies of all the wonderful things that you did while they were away.  Pictures and videos should not only be taken in all of the good times.  It distorts reality and can give your returning member the feeling that life was really great without them while they were struggling, in constant danger and/or working hard.  It is important that you create a realistic sense of what life was like while they were away.  You can tell your friend or family member that life was hard but it isn’t as easy to believe if you only captured all of the good times.  It will also be important to take pictures of things that you can laugh about later or record a moment in time when it was coming all undone.  You will also be modelling to your family that life isn’t all about the good times and that you can laugh (sometimes much later on!) and learn from your mistakes.

Tips – Take a picture when:

* When the toilet clogs (take a picture of you with the plunger – not the clogged toilet!)

* When the furnace breaks and you are all in huge sweaters and hats

* When the baby is crying non-stop

* When there is a massive line up at the grocery store

* When the car breaks down, gets a flat tire or gets stuck

* If you or someone in your family breaks a bone (get a picture of the waiting room or putting the cast on, not just the smiley picture with dozens of signatures on it and getting a ton of attention)

Life is tough when they are away and I am not saying, at all, that you take pictures to wallow in your sorrows.  Take pictures so that when you are re-connecting and sharing your experiences when you were apart, that you are both able to give a balanced view.  It is easy to create an image that life was wonderful but it isn’t real – the “downs” make you appreciate the “up times”.  If they came home and only showed you pictures of suntanning in a sand dune, watching movies, and playing games with friends; no matter what they said about how hard it was – wouldn’t you be resentful?  Would you 100% believe them?

For more information about our tips, books and resources go to: www.WhileYouWereAway.org

To submit a tip of your own or just ask a question, write to: Megan@WhileYouWereAway.org

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