I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Betty, who responded to an email I sent out asking for feedback and what you’d guys like covered. She explained that she wants to start journaling for her grandchildren.
This is really sweet, and is also something that has come up in my seminars a couple of times. That said I’m excited to share with you 3 simple insights on how to best do this.
1. “Tag” each grandchild
Given that we are just a little into ourselves, this is a great way to make it much easier for your grandchildren to read through your journal.
A couple weeks ago my girlfriend and I had some fun looking over my old yearbooks from school. Upon opening one of them a little card fell out.
On this card was listed each of the pages where there was a photo of me. I forgot that the yearbook team include with each yearbook a similar card for each student. When you got your yearbook you just opened it up to the pages you were in and you could read about yourself.
When journaling for grandchildren you can use a similar approach. Note that this is where page numbers really come in handy.
In the beginning, end, or even just on index cards kept in your journal, you want to start a tag index. On this page write down each of your granchildren’s names, leaving plenty of space. For example:
Next, if your journal already has entries, write next to the name of your grand child each page where you mention something about them.
Why do this? Because when your grand children are looking through your journal in the future, they can jump right to themselves much more easily, or anyone else that you’ve journaled about.
You can also use this same method to tag “events”, such as birthdays or holidays.
2. Tell a Story
Storytelling is a very important part of how we as a species relay information to each other. Given this, we can use storytelling to much more deeply engage our future readers on your unique perspective on their lives.
Based on storytelling basics, here’s some tips on how to make your entries more story-like:
- Embrace Conflict: Talk about your struggles, but in a way that is expectant of a healthy resolution. Even more importantly, write down the resolution once it’s achieved
- Show, Don’t Tell: There’s time for simply logging what has happened or what is going on, but to make it even cooler is to “show” what you want to convey. So instead of “Jeremy is a very nice boy”, show that he is nice by saying “Jeremy helped an old woman cross the street”
- Talk About Interaction: Journal about not only how you interact with your family, but how your family positively interacts with each other. This allows your grandchildren to learn more dimensions of themselves on how they relate to other people in the family. Be careful however to not “gossip” in your journal, but instead note how well family members synergize with your grandchildren and help them grow
With the focus on telling a story you are able to not only engage your grandchildren more easily with your journal, but also help them experience some insights about what it is that you, and possibly even other family members, really feel about them.
C.S. Mott, a very successful man from Flint, MI kept a very detailed journal. He was focused on his work, if a bit distant. If it wasn’t for his journal however his daughter would have never known how much he loved her.
3. Write Down Why You Love Them
Make it clear and concise, every time you write down something about them write down what it is about that unique situation that makes you love them more deeply.
This is important, but also different than just “why this makes me love them”. We don’t want to leave the impression that your love is conditional.
What this does is that it makes sure that no matter how difficult a day may have been or all the terrible ways an entry could go, you’re forcing yourself to write down what it is in that moment that made you truly appreciate being their grandparent.
This is powerful, because when your grandchildren look back on this journal it gives them an idea on what it was they they did well, and where their natural strengths may lie.
For instance, writing something like “I love Jeremy because of how considerate he was of the old woman at the street corner” signals to your grandchild that there is a strength that you see, and one that they can develop and grow with.
If you’re a grandparent you’ve likely collected lots of knowledge over your life, and being able to collect and condense that into a journal for your grandchildren can be one of the greatest gifts you can ever give them.
I have no doubt though that journaling for grandchildren doing this will not only impact them in the future, but will also impact yourself over time.
That about does it for todays post. Take care!