Journaling for My Kids
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I keep a journal for each of my children. Each begins as a letter to the child, where I name qualities I have seen in them that are unique and special to their relationships in the our family. For example, our middle child is very sensitive, in the best ways possible. He is gentle to his baby brother and eager to please his big sister. In his letter, I specifically mention ways he is gentle and considerate to his siblings and tell him how proud I am of the compassion I see him exhibiting already. And also in his journal, I pray that he will always act with that quality.
Entries that follow the first letter are also written to the child, but they are more to the point about whatever I am recording in that moment. Here are some entries:
what a day in their life looks like at different ages
a list of their current favorite books
their first jokes
conversations or observations too funny to let time forget
plans for the future...my daughter has wanted to be a 'princess doctor' for a few years now...I have to record that. Someday she will realize there is no major for 'princess doctors' and pick something else. But we cannot forget her first passion.
reactions to firsts...i.e., the feel of snow, or sand, or being up on stage
favorite foods, preferences of restaurants (besides Mickey D's)
tid-bits of history relating to them...What does this mean? Earlier-mentioned son made an amusing comment while we were standing in line to vote in the Primaries this past spring, so when I recorded his comment, I also gave some (very neutral, but still my own) commentary on the interesting race we were facing.
I bought these books on the outdoor clearance stands at Big Chain Bookstore for very little money, but they are nice enough to be able to be proud of them enough to give to my children when they are older. At the time I bought them, I made no rules for myself about writing in them on a regular basis. I don't write every week, or even every month. However, I do leave out sticky notes to quickly jot down something I will want to record later when I have more time, when I've had time to process it, or when the kids aren't around.
This journal is not meant to replace a scrapbook or baby album. It just fills in those details that we would love to remember about our own childhood. I often wonder...what did I do all day before I started school? Did I play with dolls or blocks on the floor with my mom? I remember a few childhood books, but which ones were my favorite? How did my brother and I get along at different ages? When did we become friends? When did we stop? When did we start again? What did I eat for breakfast? Did I eat breakfast? I bet my parents remember a few of these answers but I would love it in their own words and handwriting, written in the moment. Recorded moments with all of the emotions of the day and season.
I enjoy keeping these books and look forward to filling pages and pages with more wonderful, amusing, and ordinary but personal memories. And I hope it blesses them to know how much their mother loved them to record these sometimes silly but always important details.
Oh, and one more memory that will for sure be going in my daughter's book-her love of photography! She was the one behind the camera for the shot above! Thanks, Belle!