Well, I think family records and stories are a vital part of a hope chest. If your family is or was Christian, a family Bible was probably part of someone's hope chest. Other religions have similar items, relics and documents. Most families had at least a box with old pictures and documents in an attic or basement. The box got passed along from generation to generation.
I want Miss Abigail to know who she is and where she came from. I want her to know the stories that were told to me when I was young and to be able to share those stories with her children. So, as I mentioned in this post, I've made scrapbooks for her early childhood and she has learned to do that for herself now. I've worked hard to collect pictures and stories of our ancestors and have them in computer files and hopefully will find the time to create a book someday. My goal in this area has been to create some activities for my young grandchildren that will help them learn about our family. Young mothers don't often have the time to create these kinds of activities and my daughters-in-law are as busy as most. Abigail will have the same challenge. If I can create these books and games to include in her hope chest, it will make her life easier when she has young children. My plan through the upcoming year is to multiply these activities by four, include one in the hope chest and send the others in the mail for our sons to use in a family home evening. No preparation for them, all they have to do is follow the instructions. I've sent one so far and it was a success. I'm excited to send these others.
The first of the activities is pretty easy - family photo coloring pages. Just choose family pictures that feature subjects that are interesting to children. The first example above is a picture of my mom as a child in front of her school in Wells, Nevada. She was a bluebird in a school play. My grandmother spent quite a lot of time making the costume out of crepe paper and poster board, including a little hat with a beak. Miss Abigail looks a lot like my mom in this picture. The picture below is of my father and his brother sawing a log for their winter woodpile. Anyway...pictures with interesting subjects work best. Scan the picture with a high "dpi." Then use photo editing software to create a "pencil sketch" of the photo. Print it out and you have a great coloring page. Then you can visit with your children or grandchildren as you color together, telling the story of the picture.
I mentioned that my grandchildren were visiting. I had printed several coloring pages for the display and my little 4-yr old grandson colored them all. He listened to the stories and wanted to take them home to Arizona and put them on the wall in his bedroom. His interest in the pictures was piqued - mission accomplished! (BTW - for the pictures that I put in the hope chest and the pictures that get sent in the mail to our daughters-in-law, I will have to write the story and include it on the back of the photo to remind Abigail after some years, in case she doesn't remember the details of the picture.
You may never have thought of your own family's history. I hope these upcoming posts will inspire you to put together a project for your children or grandchildren. Learn about and then share your family history! If you need help, just contact a local Family History Center at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It will be in the yellow pages and the help and instruction is always free.