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Spitting Image

Courtesy of Ana Connery, Amy Mikler

Check out these photos! On the left is me, at 3, with my pop, outside my childhood home in Miami, where my family still lives. My dad died when I was 16, so the bittersweetness of this image is something I cherish. On the right, it's Javier, my first-grader, and me outside our home earlier this year just before we built a porch on our house. The resemblance between the two images is pure coincidence, but it speaks volumes about history's penchant for repeating itself, don't ya think?

I found this photo while flipping through old albums at my mom's house recently. The pages were covered in plastic, and just about every photo was turning yellow with age. As it turns out, my brother and I have no pics of everyday life while growing up, only holidays and special occasions. Photos of us dressed as a bunny and a Star Wars stormtrooper roll into us noshing at the kids' table on Thanksgiving, then opening Christmas gifts, with a backyard birthday or roller-rink party thrown in for good measure. What a difference a generation makes! Scroll my phone and you'll find hundreds of everyday moments—my boy with his face covered in ice cream, cuddling the dog, dressed as Spider-Man at the grocery store.

Other than knowing that the next generation is going to need a lot more storage on their devices, all of this reminds me that experience is the ultimate teaching tool, and having endless records can prove quite useful. Whether it's a meltdown your kid had last week that guides you on how to handle a similar situation today, or a childhood photo that floods you with love, knowledge, and power (like this one does me!), there's plenty the past can teach us about parenting.

With that in mind, we launch our new back page, We Were Kids Once, this month. We're mining our personal archives for vintage pics that tell us something about ourselves, our parents, and, inevitably, the way we're raising our kids today. Call it the modern vintage approach to parenting. Hey, it works. If you don't believe me, read senior editor Debbie Skolnik's take on piano lessons on page 88. Who knew the ivory keys would help her body heal after breast cancer treatment—and help her daughters appreciate their guitar lessons?

What do your childhood photos teach you? Tell me about it (and share those pics) at ana@parenting.com.

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