To be known is such a beautiful thing. It’s such an incredible feeling to feel like you have a place, that you have a home, that there is a space where you are free to be you in all your weirdness and wonder.

Your home is this safe place. Your home is where you can feel most yourself and experience the true freedom of expression. This is especially important for our children. Our children need a space to grow, to feel safe to expand and live their current truth and know the space is secure for them to change their truth as they change as individuals in a constant state of change.

There are so many ways to instil this amazing sense of secure self to our kids, but the best way I know how to do this as a photographer is through images. And not just any images of dreamy sunsets, riveting mountain ranges, or the star-filled sky– through images of us.

When images of you, your spouse, your family, your pets, your children are on display for all to see, you are showcasing moments frozen in time. These moments solidify our existence; I was here. I lived. I loved. I embraced laughter and tears. I am.

The images of my family placed around my home aren’t all Instagram-worthy shots ready to be taken from the fridge of my home and transported to magazine stands or billboards. They are, however, even more precious than the deepest sunken treasure. They are the quick images of a moment so wonderful I never wanted it to pass. Wonderful here has a few definitions and can be the moments of sadness that show the relationship between my two boys who compete and fight and love each other all within the span of a few moments.

When my boys see their images on the walls of our home, they feel part of something bigger. They feel important. They feel wanted. They feel loved. They feel like own a stake in our family and are as valuable as the pictures of Gary and I the day we intimately wed by the ocean. Instilling this value into my kids is something I will never stop doing. I want them to know they have a place to be. I want them to remember the moments. I want them to look at the pictures as they grow and say ‘I remember when this happened…’ and continue to relive the moment as the story unfolds.

Does it ever happen to you, especially as you get older, where you remember a memory and think to yourself ‘do I actually remember this happening, or am I just remembering seeing an image of it?’ Memories fade but the story through the image will be told for generations to come. The stories we tell to our children, referenced on the walls of our lives, will instil in them their own set of values. If I show my kids that I value the beauty of the moments they would pout, play with my hair when cuddling, or rough-house with Gary, they will grow up with a deep foundation knowing it’s ok to share your emotions, that love and affection are needed, and that their dad is always there for them. These are the roots that matter. This is what seeing a picture can do.

As my boys grow, I want them to know they will always have a place in our home. No matter what the world says to them, no matter what they do, they can come home and be somewhere they are valued and accepted.

I’d like to challenge you to expand the images on your walls as more than a gallery of ‘finest moments’, but the real moments that make your family unique, that makes each piece of your family puzzle perfect amongst the rest, that shows your values and to encourage storytelling to everyone in your home about the moments the images were taken. Have no shame in the honest moments. Find beauty daily in your interactions and put them up in prominent places where they become the fuel to your home.