II Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Journal It

I was going to send this as an email to my friend Kate...but then I thought that there might be other young mothres out there who could benefit from this idea, so I'm posting on my blog instead. :)

When Brooklyn was 3 months old, I was reading a parenting magazine. It was the section in the front called "It worked for me"...probably in either Parents or Parenting. Anyway, it was a lady who had written in telling that from the time her children were babies up until they were grown, she had always kept a journal for each one of them and then gave it to them when they were 18.

I loved the idea and began it that very day. That was nearly 10 years ago now and I am still journaling and it has become one of the most precious things in my life. Especially now that Brooklyn is older and she knows about it. She loves those books probably more than any other posession. I had intended to keep them a secret until she was grown up...but she found it one day in my bedside table and immediately became enamored with it, so I allowed her to hear bits and peices (as I read it to her). Then she started leaving me notes on my bed saying "mom, pleas writ to me agn" :) when she was only about 5 years old because she LOOOOVES to hear stories about her life and what I am thinking and feeling about her.

Here are some suggestions I have about this, if you should decide to do it:
1: Get a spiral bound book, it's much easier to write in when you don't have to hold the page down because of tight binding.
2. Write about the big things...but also remember to write about the every day things. Some of our favorite entries are the ones where I say "Dear Brooklyn, today you are 2 1/2 and guess what? You are wearing big girl panties today! You still haven't figured out exactly what that means, but you sure are proud of your little Dora undies and would rather wear them and only them (with your tiara and clip-clop shoes too, of course) than any clothes! You are talking all the time these days and say the cutest things. Today you told Daddy that you were going to marry him when you grow up! Speaking of growing up, you are getting so big! We took you to the doctor for your check up and she said you are so healthy and strong! You are already wearing size 3T and some 4T. You don't much like to eat your veggies but you do LOVE Grandma's pickled beets, which suprises me! You would eat french fries with every meal if we would let you and still won't try a donut because you think they have "nuts" in them! ha ha Right now, I am reading Dr. James Dobson's book called "The Strong Willed Child" because even though you are my little sweetie pie...you can be SUCH a stinker sometimes too! You certainly think you're the boss a lot of the time. Somedays I feel like you are way too smart for a 2 1/2 year old because it feels like you know exactly what I'm saying, and you intentionally do everything that I don't want you to do. It is exhausting and at times I wonder how God figured I was qualified to be your momma. You don't really seem to care about having a time-out and when I swat you on the bottom, you just look at me like "big deal" and run off to play. I wonder if you're too little to be "grounded"? hee hee--just kidding! One thing I know...God blessed me with you and He will definitely help me figure out what I need to do to teach you and help you become the young lady that He wants you to be! He knows exactly what you need at all times, even though I don't...so as long as I stay in close contact with Him, I know it's all gonna be just fine! :) I love you my growing-up-way-too-fast baby girl!

See...there was nothing "huge" about that entry...but rather than just list out details like "today we went to X and we ate X and then we came home and watched tv and then went to bed"...it talks more about feelings and thoughts...which is much more interesting to read later on.

4. Write often. I used to try to write about every other day or so...but now I only write, on average, maybe 3 times a month...sometimes more, sometimes less. I especially try to write when we've had an extraordinarily good or bad day.

5. Don't only write about the good times. I have plenty of entries where I tell the kids what naughty little boogers they've been that day. When they are older, they will appreciate your honesty and when they are parents, they will especially appreciate knowing that you've been there/done that!

6. Don't think that boys won't enjoy reading these journals! Grant is only 6 and he loves to hear me read from his book just as much as Brooklyn does!

7. Write about your husband. Some of my entries are just paragraph after paragraph about how much I love and adore their daddy. I just read one that I wrote to Brooklyn the other day that said, "Right now your daddy and I are disagreeing about something and that made me think that I want to write to you and tell you some things about marriage..." and then I went on to tell her how pride will hurt a marriage and how being selfish will only rob you of the joy that you long for....etc. etc. etc. I told her how blessed I am that her daddy loves us so much and works so hard to provide for us. That he loves God and is our spiritual leader and that even when we disagree, I am still head-over-heels happy that God gave him to me! "Oh how I pray that God will bring a young man just like your daddy into your life one day."
Kids need to know this stuff--and how much your and your spouse love each other!

8. Write about YOUR accomplishments and goals too! Without going into too much detail, I have written about my weight struggles in my books to Brooklyn, because when she is a young woman, I want her to be able to read about this and know that I wasn't always "fit and healthy". She will see that it took determination and struggle and lots of hard work to change the way we live, but that I did it because I want HER to grow up healthy and strong and NOT have the kinds of issues with weight that I did. (ps. I don't read that part to her right now).

9. Have a seperate book for each child. They will want to have and keep these as they grow up and move out on their own...so make them individual and unique!

10. Write about answers to prayers and ways that God has worked in your lives! It is our responsibility to show our kids how God has blessed us and provided for us. It is a wonderful way to help you remember too...all the times that God has answered our prayers!

So..........I hope this inspires you to do this. Even if you only write once a month, it will be something your children will cherish!


Kate said...

that is SUCH a good idea Jen! I'm a bit late in starting one, but better late than never :)

Teresa said...

What a FANTASTIC idea and gift you are giving to your children!! I am so wishing I would have thought of doing that a TON sooner but better late than never right?

YOu are an awesome Mom Jen!

Rene' said...

I've done this exact same thing with my girls too. (we are SO alike sometimes! I even read that strong willed child book too lol). Instead of schoolnotebooks though I use hard cover smaller notebooks that still have the wire binding--like u said, you can flip it completely open (and backward) so its easier to write in and hold, especially since I am usually doing this in bed. I also only write on the front side of the paper so that its neater (for the long term). I've let the girls draw pictures in them too, which they enjoy doing. Your example post is exactly how I write mine-I do lots of quotes too of funny things they have said (I would jot them down on scraps of paper when they said it, then transfer them into the book when I had time). My only problem is that I never write anything about serious struggles I've ever had with parenthood--maybe I should bc it would give perspective to them when they are parents, but I didn't want anything negative to be in there that would ever give them any inkling that I possibly didn't love them. I want them to know I ALWAYS loved them, and I fear that if they read about any emotional struggles I had they may misinterpret it and think I didn't love them. Maybe there is a way to write it properly, but I've never ventured into those emotions in my notebooks. I don't know when I'll give it to them, I always thought it'd be ontheir wedding days as a wedding gift, but it may be something they want when they become parents, or sooner like u are planning. Who knows, I just figure when the time is right I will decide and know.
I like that u write about spouses and marriage and the marriage commitment being overriding. That's a good idea.

SLO Mom said...

Hi, My friend told me to journal when i was pregnant with my lil one, so I did. I have to admit I just looked at it this AM and was like I have gotta write in there again for her!! THANKS for the reminder, encouragement to do so, and the input on how you do it! I have already been blessed going back and reading some of the entries. You know how stressful it was @ the end for me!!! xoxo, oh yah... and i was gonna blog, too. Ha! Motherhood is full time job!!!

SLO Mom said...

SLO Mom is Ashley BTW! San Luis Obispo County.