Journaling for You and Your Children
by David Russell, Editor
all know that children learn by example so it is of
paramount importance that we model for them a life of
discipline and virtue. They watch what we do, listen
to what we say, and mimic behaviors. With the hustle
and bustle of life sometimes we forget to slow down
and reflect upon things that matter most, including
our children. I have found that journaling is a way
to truly sharpen, not only the intellect, but our deeper
held values. Incarnating our thoughts into words allows
us the opportunity to physically see what we are thinking.
Seeing how you actually think can also help you put
things into proper context, and even correct mistakes
we make in our thinking process.
our children to love journaling involves a commitment
on our part to role model the activity itself. My own
mother kept a journal of her thoughts for years and
I remember how fascinating it was to watch her sit down
everyday and write about various things she had experienced.
She always said it was a way to reflect on her life
and to focus on things that matter most. I have always
tried to model the same values to my own children within
the context of honoring God with their minds. I have
found that the story of the incarnation of Jesus into
human history is a wonderful example of teaching the
value of writing words. In John's Gospel, chapter 1:
14 we read that "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us" To think that God, though not of a physical
substance like ourselves, took on flesh and entered
human history. I once heard a theologian say that with
the incarnation God wrote Himself in the story. More
importantly is the idea of the Word (Jesus) taking on
flesh so all could behold Him.
remember the look on my son Weston's face when I explained
how God has given us the gift of language and writing.
How we use symbols we call letters to create words to
which we attach meaning. I asked him to think about
something in his head, but not to tell me. I tried to
guess what he was thinking but could not. I then asked
him to write his thought on paper so I could see it.
He wrote the following sentence. "I want you to
take me to get some ice cream." I told him that
he had just taken something invisible (though real)
and made it visible for not only my own eyes, but for
all eyes to see. He responded with a "wow, I never
thought about it like that before." I like to use
the analogy of the incarnation of Jesus Christ for the
more important task of teaching them the eternal importance
of understand salvation.
have found that children respond well to deeper things
of this life. Granted you have to put the cookies on
the bottom shelf where they can reach them, but if you
can do that effectively, they really light up with awe
and wonder about life. I'm glad to say that I've helped
to create curious, questioning minds in my own children.
My oldest daughter is majoring in literature and writing
at Central Michigan University and I am very pleased
she loves the written word.
are readily available at bookstores, card shops, and
office supply stores. I have found with younger children
its fun to help them design and make their own journals.
This can be done with construction paper, glue and scissors.
Smaller children (4 -6 years) don't typically possess
the ability to fully express themselves in writing,
but I have found that they do much better when they
can draw a picture or cut out a shape of things they
see around them. This is how you teach children to enjoy
journaling in stages.
No matter what method you use in teaching your children
to love journaling make sure to stay involved with them.
Encourage them to share their ideas with you as they
journal. Discussing thoughts and ideas will help you
and your children to clarify your thoughts but more
importantly focus in on those things in life we most
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