Written by Monthly Contributor, Trina Holden
I’m a journalist. Not of world news or current events, but of something much more interesting and dear to my heart – the story of Gods’ hand in my life and my family.
I’ve kept a personal journal for over 20 years, filling nearly 80 volumes. Before my children spoke their first words, I began a journal for each of them, to record all the cute things they would say and developmental milestones. My motley collection of notebooks — a true eyesore to look at on the bookshelf — is a treasure trove of fond memories and testimonies of a faithful God.
The benefits of keeping a journal have so richly enhanced my life, I long to encourage others to begin or cultivate the habit. But the challenge of keeping a daily log or starting one for each child may be intimidating or overwhelming, so I propose…
The Family Journal
- What: A sturdy, spiral bound, hard cover book with lines spaced wide enough that a grade-school-er would not be intimidated.
- Authors: Anyone in the family who can write legibly, though younger artists are encouraged to add illustrations.
- Where: Kept in the open, pen sandwiched inside, ready for instant reporting.
The Family Journal Contains:
- Humorous quotes from the children (or parents!)
- Ways the Lord has blessed the family
- Significant family events
- Gratefulness lists
- Requests and answered prayers
- Notes from visiting friends
Benefits of the Family Journal:
- A place for young writers to showcase their progress
- A record to instruct the children in God’s faithfulness
- Young children can be encouraged in the skill of narration as older family members take dictation
- Best of all, the Family Journal provides a unique way to honor a family member on their birthday. The Librarian or Scribe of the family can spend some time prior to a birthday looking back and bookmarking passages that record personal development, funny quotes, and ways that God has used or blessed the birthday person. These selections can be read aloud at the birthday dinner or over dessert, and the whole family can laugh and celebrate that member of the family as the gift from God that they are.
Hints for Filling Your Family Journal:
- encourage participation from youngest to oldest
- have family recording time, perhaps directly after a meal — everyone can narrate a memory, with one person appointed as scribe
- Don’t put it away — leave it open and available
- Let it double as a guest book!
- Take it in the car
- Bring it on vacation!
- Encourage extended family to contribute to special pages for birthdays
- Don’t be a perfectionist. No one should be graded on punctuation or grammar — the only requirement should be legibility.
- Choose a spiral bound book — they’re much easier to write in than one with traditional binding.
Bonus Idea: A Family Journal makes a great gift! Gift wrap a quality journal for a family Christmas or housewarming gift, with a nice pen and a copy of this article so they’ll know what to do with it!
Thrifty Tip: Find journals for $2-$5 at dollar stores and discount retail stores.
Without our family journal, I’d never remember precious things like…
“Me wanna be a pirate when me grow up. But me miss you, so me only go on pirate ship on Wednesdays.”
- Jesse, age 4
Don’t let the adorable things your kids say or the miracles God has worked in your life be forgotten – preserve them so you can rejoice over them in the future!