Thursday, December 9, 2010
Family Journaling- Creating a postive atmosphere in your home!
Life can be quite hectic. I feel like there are a lot of days that go by and all that is mentioned are the negatives I saw all day. At the end of the day, it's not a good feeling knowing there were so many good things I could have pointed out but didn't. Sometimes we just have a crazy schedule and no one takes the time to tell each other we love them. I don't want my home to be like this and decided something needed to be done about it. So we decided to start a family journal in our home.
This journal is a way for us to point out the positive things we see, tell each other "I love you", appreciate efforts, and more. It's kind of like writing notes to each other but they are kept in one book and the writing goes back and forth between the two people. The journal is placed in a central location. This way everyone can find it and can easily read it or write in it. When someone sees somebody doing something good or perhaps he just wants to say something nice to another family member, he just gets the journal and writes a little note to that person with the date next to it and signs his name. Sometime throughout the day the journal can be checked to see if there is entry in there for you.
I can't tell you what a difference this has made in the dynamics of our home. My children really look forward to getting a note from me. My son wrote such a touching note to me today that it brought a tear to my eye. This was not something he would normally have verbalized. I may have never gotten this kind of emotion out of him otherwise. I think boys especially do a much better job expressing themselves when it's in written form. If you don't give them the opportunity to use it, you may be missing out on a lot. The kids are so happy and really feeling good about themselves. Even the willingness to work harder and longer on things in school is easier.
Children of all ages need to hear words of affirmation. In the tweener and teenage years, this becomes less apparent because they can become withdrawn and want to hang out with their friends more. Don't let that fool you! It is during these difficult years they need to hear it more than ever. They just won't admit it or want you to do it in front of others. That's why this journal is also a great way to keep the lines of communication open but in a private way. If anyone in the house would rather others not read their entries to you, you could keep a private journal for them. My children are 10 and under and they are not to the point of caring if others read what is written.
An added bonus is that your children get to practice their reading, writing, grammar, and spelling skills without realizing it. If you have younger ones, let them dictate to the older children and they can write it down for them. Or let the little ones just draw a picture for you. When a note is left for a little one, again an older sibling can read it aloud. Either way, everyone can participate and feel like they are contributing and receiving notes.
The journal itself doesn't have to be anything special. A simple composition notebook will do. However, you can decorate the outside if you like. Keeping a pen nearby or even attaching one to the journal with a string keeps you from having to hunt one down which would make you less likely to use it often.
I don't think you can go wrong trying this with your family. Everyone is going to feel loved and special and you'll be surprised how it changes attitudes. Sure it can take a little extra time writing to several children, but I usually do mine in the evening after everyone is in bed. It only takes a few minutes and it gives them something to look forward to in the morning and starts the day off on a good note. I hope you'll try it out. Leave us a note if you do and tell us how it worked.