Shine Traps

It will take me longer to write this post than it did to do what it is I am going to suggest.

If you are a parent, teacher or supervisor who is in the business of developing young people – especially parents – then you know the predicament that our children's work can pose in our lives.

I have little stacks of paper that accumulate on the desk in my office and the counter in my kitchen because something keeps me from wanting to get rid of them.

It's because the Thanksgiving essay revealing what my son is thankful for, the artwork depicting his perspective on our house, the paper airplane stuck in the light fixture because that's his most recent hobby, and the chart he made himself to track data from his Fit Bit are all artifacts that, later, can help Jack better understand his Shine.

The pieces, when combined with everything else that I have and will accumulate over time, reveals common and persisting themes about his:

Strengths and successes


Interests, Irritatants, and Ideas;

Natural Talents,

and meaningful Life Experiences.

At the House of Shine, call that a person's S.H.I.N.E.

But compiling the artifacts doesn't have to take a long time, require that you're a scrapbooker, or cost a lot of money.

My system is rudimentary. I create a folder for both of my boys at the start of each school year and then anytime they bring something home that I think helps illustrate their Essential Self (who they are at their core), I tuck it away in the folder. At the end of the year, I tuck the folder into a larger “treasure box” and return it to its shelf in the attic.

One more step. I usually take thirty seconds to scribble a short note on the back telling them why I kept it. My perception of how it reflects their Shine could end up being every bit as important to their development as the item itself. After all, some of my biggest “aha” moments have come when someone else's perception of me collides with my perception of self.

That's it.

A folder and an appreciation for how artifacts can reveal our Shine. That's all you need. 

Claudia Beeny

Founder and Executive Director


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