On Valentines day we gave each of our grandchildren little notebooks to be used as journals. We also gave them brief instructions on how to use them. The older children immediately sat down and began recording their thoughts for the day. Since my youngest granddaughter, four year old Jadyn, cannot yet write, I was worried that she might feel left out. My fears were put to rest when she sat down, took out her pencil, and whispered as she began to write, “Dear diarrhea!” The entire house erupted in laughter, including the uncontrollable giggles of Jadyn. But when the laughter dies, I hope that each of my grandchildren experience the many benefits of keeping a regular journal.
Here are just a few of those benefits:
1. Your communication and writing skills are dramatically enhanced when you record your thoughts every day! In a world where many college graduates are incapable of writing a coherent sentence, continually developing your ability to express yourself gives you an incredible edge in any field you pursue. If you dream of writing a book your journal will become a treasure of material.
2. You will capture crystal clear thoughts and ideas that otherwise WILL disappear, lost forever, leaving only a misty wisp of something you knew was brilliant. No matter what the size of your journal, carry a small notebook with you to capture these ideas as they flit through your brain. Trust me! They do not linger! Some of them can disappear before you can find a pencil. I keep my notebook and pen in the same pocket. If I ever got a piercing, it would be a pencil through my nose, where I could get to it easily and would never lose it.
3. You will have measurable record of spiritual, physical and emotional progress in your life. I recently read an old entry made at one of the lowest points in my emotional health. Reading that entry drove me to my knees in thanks to God for answered prayer. I had forgotten how His grace has surrounded me and brought me to a new level of joy in living. Many of the goals and dreams I have seen fulfilled in life began as entries in a journal. If you write it down, chances are good it will become reality.
4. You will see the hand of God moving in your life. Answered prayer, divine intervention, lessons learned through pain all snap into focus when you take the time to keep a record of life.
If you say, “I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to do this,” My advice to you is this: Grab a pencil and a notebook. Sit down and begin, “Dear diarrhea,” then just keep writing. If it works for a four year old, it can work for you.
Please comment: I would love to hear about your progress and the benefits you have found from keeping a journal.
I probably should keep a journal but I usually post something on my blog. I usually have an easier time keeping a blog going than a journal.
Jason, much of what I keep in my journal is very private and personal. Stuff I don’t necessarily want the world to see. It is important to keep track of those elements of our life as well.
Six year old daughter: Kori, Nana gave me a “diarrhea. You can write in it if you want to.” Kori: no comment
I like to write down things and have the words to remember better a special time or something funny the kids said, or something God is teaching me. I have journals for each of my kids with funny stuff they have said and other important things that I hope will be encouraging and help them with perspective on a turbulent teen day. I keep my blog with stuff that I want to share or something I wrote about. I am working on a prayer journal for one daughter to give on her 12th birthday so that year of transition, she will know that I am praying for her each day. I also have another journal all about “love’ for another daughter who has pretty much 6 years left in our home full time until college and we want to give her some things to have in her suitcase when the time comes and love is the first thing we want her to have packed. So lots of different ways to put words into action for Jesus.
Ken This is a Great idea. We have 3 kids two can write and Love to. our oldest Maddi just told me she is starting a poetry journal. My Grandma had one as well as calendars that she would write on, telling what happened that day or who called. You can relive the memories of someone after they are gone. God Bless
Ken…….what a special gift to your grandchildren! And what a “Priceless” beginning for 4 yr. old Jadyn.
Great thoughts of encouragement to journal.
And…….I’m looking over at the side here……Ken I didn’t know you were and artist. Was this a hidden talent back on the Range??
Ken…I absolutely agree with each point. I have kept a journal fairly regularly for 25 years. Sometimes the entries are well-written and thoughtful. Other times, one of those fleeting ideas is passing through my brain and I know that if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget. In those cases, I use a cryptic shorthand/scribble that would be almost undecipherable to others. I have found journaling to particularly helpful in seeing God work in my life, as you indicated in #4. I often write prayers in my journal. It’s pathetically-amazing how easily I forget specifics of things I pray about. It’s wonderfully-amazing to read those prayers later and consciously realize how God specifically heard and responded to those prayers. If I hadn’t written them out in detail, I might have had a sense of God’s presence, but I probably would’ve missed the blessing of fully comprehending His attentiveness to detail in His answers. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!
Ken, I love what your grandchild said she is so cute! This is great idea…Our Levi is 6 years old …he is my blessing from God….We’ve been married 33 yr….My older kids are 32 and 28 yr…..I was 43 when I had Levi … He loves the Lord….He writes little songs about God….so cute….I wrote them down but will have him journal…Great Idea….My older kids Love…. the Giant Cat jumped through the window story!!!! You are awesome….Thanks so much! Cindy Hinkley
🙂 Nice one Ken!
I learned last year that making use of a journal puts every day life into better perspective. Journaling is one way of making each day count 🙂
Hi Ken, I have a prayer journal I write in actually. (I do also have a blog too for other stuff) but in my prayer journal it’s for me/to God… I talk about my life, stuff going on with me that I only want God and I to talk about – and I put prayer requests and praise reports because I LOVE seeing how things progress.
I did a prayer journal of sorts when I was a telemarketer for SEVEN WHOLE YEARS (I saw God move in that place!! He has a sense of humor sometimes when He places us in a job) I saw God do a lot there, but I sure didn’t like working there – every day!!
But in my journal for EACH coworker… I’d see changes and things God was doing, and it helped make my job soooo much better!!
Journals are always a great idea!
Ken, this is exactly what I’ve tried to tell my brothers. Keeping a journal has given me the opportunity to look back over the years and see the struggles, the joys, and the hilarious times of when I was 19 and knew everything. It’s only 12 years down the road since being 19, but the communicating factor is light years ahead of my peers. All of whom have gone to college at one point or another (I’ve never been but would love to go). I am also in the military, where communicating with 4 letter words is a given. Writing has made my vocabulary expand. With the expansion I can still rip into people without using any 4 letter words. Thank you so much for sharing about the “diarrhea”.
Amen…I have been keeping a journal for years. Oh, my what a treasure.Through it I actually see the story God is writing in and through my life. God uses it to encourage, challenge, convict and comfort as I read through the pages. I’ve even been asked to copy parts out to send to a friend when she was experiencing some rough paths in her life similar to one I had travelled and in fact was still navigating. Keep encouraging and blessing us Ken with your wit and wisdom which is a gift from the Lord.
And by-the-way, it is not just college graduates that have difficulties with writing now a days. I have a University senior who has had some professors that I would fail in my grade 9 english class (were I still teaching and were they in there). In fact I have been tempted at times to grade their work and send it back to class with my daughter. She thought this might compromise her standing in the class however, so I refrained.
Bless you, Ken.
Well, kids say the darndest things! Oh wait, Art Linkletter already used that line. Still true though!
As a child, every year for Christmas I would get a new diary. I kept lots of diaries and currently have them secreted away in my cedar chest. Every once in a while nostalgia overcomes me and I peek through them….sometimes they make me cringe (more often than not and I keep thinking, “I hope no one reads this stuff after I die!”), and sometimes they make me cry as I remember particularly rough times in my youth. Growing up really is kinda tough on kids!
I don’t journal regularly anymore, though I should. I do have several blogs, but as you pointed out, a diary/journal is very private (at least mine would be!) whereas I really don’t care who reads the blogs.
Something I started when my two sons were young, was to keep a journal for them. Each boy had a journal, and I would occasionally write letters to them in the journal; just to let them know what we were doing so that when they’re grown and married, they can look through these and remember. They were growing up in caveman days when we used film instead of digital cameras, and I would always get double prints made. Each boy had his own photo album of the photos that he was in. I do wish I had photos from my childhood. Le sigh….
I just found my diary that I started when I was 8 or 9 years old. It’s hilarious and you are right, there are thoughts and ideas in there that I have completely forgotten until now! It’s so much fun to read 20 years later.
This is a good thing to do. Somedays, I feel like a dog or a cat (meaning no voice , or just cant speak about things to others) I write in 2 journals. 1 for each of my grown children. One day, they will see …”the Light!”
I love hearing the humor you give to ..stuff-
Hey Ken I’m from the Dominican Republic, spanish is my first language and I want to thank you because you taught me the real way to communicate the most important message “the Gospel”. God used you in my life to change my way of preaching.
I learned to sit down and write from you thanks for writing this kinda important things, I would like to meet you in person one day.
God bless you!!!
Hi there, continuing on the topic of diarrhea… My husband and I have been married for a mere month and a half now, and I have kept a journal since we got engaged. It is so wonderful to look back and remember the little miracles the LORD has worked in our lives over the time, and to look back and see His hand in it! What an encouragement.
Evidently, we both got Giardia on the honeymoon. We were staying in a wonderful, secluded bush cabin which as it happens was on tank water. BAD tank water haha.
So since our marriage, most journal entries have included something along the lines of diarrhea…. We have become very close in a very short time 😛
I concur. I’ve been hit and miss on the journaling over the years but last year during a sabbatical I went after it seriously. It is a fantastic way to clarify thoughts of the moment and to look back later to see where I was thinking and emotion-wise at the time… and see the finger prints of God in my life. I find that a lot of men I know don’t do this…often feel intimidated about the process..”awe, I don’t know how to write!” but if they don’t worry about wording, how it sounds..just get some thoughts on the page…it can be a wonderful discipline. Thanks for “dear diarrhea”. Keep it flowing!! Oh, that was so bad!
What a pleasure to see you again. Your comment on the blog reminded me of the great times we have had through the years. You make me laugh!
Debbie, Thanks for you comment. I respectfully suggest that if you want to engage your friend, just love her and listen and enjoy her company. The chance to engage will come. I promise. Steven Covey put it well, “seek first to understand and then seek to be understood.” Love to hear how this goes. Your passion is admirable.
I started keeping a journal in January of this year and in addition to the benefits you have cited, I consider my journal to be a form of personal accountability. I am very glad that I started this, finally. I also hope that it will be read by generations to come in my family, hopefully a good record of my spiritual journey to accompany my spiritual legacy. Thank you Lord.
p.s. I really like this story. My wife and I will be grandparents in February of 2011.
Congratulations! Record every special moment!
It was fun visiting here. Wishing you a great day! I wish everyone have had a great day.