Writing it Down

Journaling now for the future

by tjwierenga

The point of journaling is not just to write down what we DO, but what we think, how we feel and react, who we are inside. Sometimes our days can seem so mundane, so much the same… but in reality they are so dynamic! They change so quickly, especially with our small children. Our tiny infants begin to crawl, our crawlers turn into walkers, our walkers turn into running, climbing, hiking machines. They start talking, they learn to sing, they begin sports and music, make friends, learn to read, learn to drive. School will flash past us in the blink of an eye, and we’ll be seeing those currently jelly-smeared, sticky fingered, diaper-changing preschoolers turn into college freshmen before we know it. While we might forget to update the baby books while we’re in the trenches, if we take a moment to scrawl down the day’s events and activities and differences, at some point we will find it much easier to go back and fill in those pastel colored pages.

Even if our children are grown, or we have never or have not yet had them, a journal can be a valuable tool to help give the writer a sense of accomplishment in their days, help keep an active reminder of when and how events occurred. Some days just stink; there is no other way to say it. But you will find that it changes your attitude to find humor, the bright side in things that happen to your life, in order to write them down. And if there are days so dreary that you cannot find anything good to write about, then write that down too. The point is not to re-write our lives to pretend that every day is Red Letter, but to put down a memory.

Journals are about who we are, what we are about during our days.

Encourage your child to write in a journal. Even quite small children can draw pictures (or scribbles, depending on their age), write out their alphabet or numbers if they are just now learning them, even dictate to Mom or Dad. Older children can write about their days, their friends, what they are doing and how they feel and think. This will get children started in the habit of journaling, and possibly give their parent some quiet time when it comes to their own journaling.

Keep your journal out, in plain view, so that you will remember to update it as often as you need, depending on your memory. Some people start their daily journal with a to-do list, and cross-off as they complete each item. This list can be prepared the night before, if you journal at night. Then just add to the bottom as you continue with your day.

Take your journal on trips and vacations with you. It is so much easier to remember experiences and events if you have the book available to write it all down each evening. SFM

What do you write about?

• a journal is a safe place to vent about your feelings. Just keep in mind that it might be read by someone else, sometime.

• Daily chores and activities

• Children’s developmental steps

• Spiritual steps – new things we have learned, questions we have

• Phone calls and visits, with reminders to yourself about important situations and dates

• What you made or where you ate for supper – what the kids are eating (or not eating) now

• Talents and interests you are noticing developing in your children

• Book you are reading or project you are working on

• Weather report, and subsequent effect on your/your family’s moods and activities

• Your children’s “shining stars” or “little turkey” moments – possibly with ideas to address these

• Occasionally, prices of things like fuel, coffee, eggs, milk, car payment, mortgage payment

• Exercise – walks, biking, hiking, gym, DVD’s, etc.

Weight and height of kids.

• Plans for upcoming seasons, holidays, etc.

• Notes about gifts or cards sent to friends and family, especially around Christmas time when it might be helpful to review the following year

• Pets – shots, vet visits, tricks, etc.