There’s something about writing things down that helps me remember.  

Whether it’s a grocery list, a to-do list or a list of people to pray for, writing information down makes it far more likely to be remembered.  Throughout the years I have recorded many things in my journals, which include times when my life seems to be crumbling as well as times when everything comes together perfectly. Overall this stack of journals form a record of prayers as well as my spiritual journey AND they form a reminder of God’s promise-keeping faithfulness in my life.

will Journal

Four-year-old Will’s journal entry

Because this practice has been so life-giving, I decided to begin journaling with my grandchildren.

I am blessed to have one school-at-home day each week with my grandchildren. After a morning group meeting, I hand them their journals, which include a note I have written to each beforehand.  I usually include both affirmations and suggestions. Then ten minutes of silence follows during which they write a response to my note (as well as anything else they wish to write about).  Their statements are heart-felt and often define behavioral expectations they plan to work on. At the end of the day, I ask each child how they felt they did in hindsight.  The girls in particular choose to write again reflecting on the day after it’s completion.

I am reminded of how reflecting on our experiences can be a better teacher than the experience itself.  

Journaling is definitely a means by which to intentionally foster reflection. At first the process felt awkward to them, but in just a few days, their journaling is taking off. Even four-year-old Will is participating. With lots of expression and hand gestures, he tells me what he has “written” in his journal. I pray that this practice will continue to bring focus to how each child can grow and learn but also spark a life long interest in journaling.

Is not the poet bound to write his own biography? Is there any other work for him but a good journal?

Henry David Thoreau –  from his journal