Photo: Jim Loring/Tearfund

From: Families under pressure – Footsteps 55

Practical ideas for supporting strong and healthy families

This is an adapted exercise from the teaching resource by Dr Carlos Raimundo, The Play of Life, reviewed on page 14. 

Find a place where you can be peaceful and undisturbed for an hour. Place a large sheet of paper in front of you. The top left corner represents the day you were born and the top right corner is today. 

Think back to times in your life when you were happy and felt understood, loved and recognised. Start from the beginning of your life. As memories come, use or draw a figure to represent you and write underneath: 

Age: 7 years old
Situation: school 
People: teacher 
Emotion: happy, recognised, proud 
Message: given an award for reading 

Continue through your life. When you finish, allow this story of your life to encourage feelings of gratitude and the awareness that you are not alone. You still have the memory of these people with you. During this exercise some people are surprised at the good events or experiences they remember with people they no longer meet or think about. A caring counsellor can use these experiences to help people who are troubled. 

Dan’s story

Dan remembered his father teaching him to ride his bike when he was five. His father was close, affectionate, fun and loving. He later started drinking. He abused Dan and his mother and left them in poverty. Dan had been full of resentment, anger and hate for 20 years. He wanted to ignore that happy memory but was encouraged to treasure that time with his father, to separate that memory from all the other unhappy memories. A few months later he realised that this memory had allowed him to look at life in a more positive way.  

Use your memories  

Keep those memories in your mind. Continue to add other memories that come to mind. Use these memories during times of pain, suffering or despair. Be aware of the messages that could give most comfort, strength or support in this moment of difficulty. Remember these messages!

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Cover of Footsteps 112: Communicable diseases

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