Thursday, September 4, 2008

Life Diagram Summer Workshop Update

Over the summer, fourteen children ranging in age from four to thirteen years old participated in the first series of life diagram workshops. A few adults also made life diagrams and contributed to the initial feedback.

The Human Life Project defines a life diagram as a graphic snapshot of the most significant days and events in each person’s life. There are patterns beginning to develop with the children’s life diagrams. The boys share an elevated interest in outdoor activities including sports, camping, and encounters with wildlife like snakes. Girls frequently mention the birth of siblings, social events with family and friends, and school. Birthdays are popular among the young children. Faith events are also sometimes mentioned. Most of the significant events are clustered within the last few years.

Part of the life diagram exercise is to recall emotion felt for each event, either happy or sad. The children’s experiences typically fall into the happy category with the passing of a grandparent as the most common sad event. Certain experiences within the same family sometimes show mixed emotions. An example is a brother that mentions moving as a happy event with his older sister feeling very sad because of missing neighborhood friends.

Parents are particularly interested in the events that each child found important. One mother made a suggestion to possibly dedicate a wall in a library to display life diagrams. This would be helpful to parents and other children to understand changing perspective by age and see the patterns unfolding.

The individual life diagrams can expand to a family life diagram. Three young married couples made their family life diagram, starting when they first met. This recent idea of family life diagrams opens many new possibilities.