My wife Susan is very creative in all aspects of her life, and that includes parenting our five children. There are times when I see her doing something creative with our kids and think, “I want to be a part of that!”
Many years ago, I watched Susan and our daughter Megan start trading a writing journal back and forth. After this went on for a few weeks, I noticed them laughing and talking more together. Pretty soon, Susan had these journals going with all of the kids. I felt left out of the fun and bonding so I took her idea and started journaling back and forth with our kids too! Of course, she didn’t mind, and maybe it was her plan all along to make it look so fun that I would practically beg to be a part of it, instead of telling me that I should do it.
Either way, those journals strengthened my relationship with my children. I’d write a question or a fill-in-the-blank sentence and lay the journal on my child’s pillow. They would write a response and put it back in my room. Sometimes, they would even draw a picture or write much more than the question asked. I learned so much about my children from those journals—what they really thought, the joys they were experiencing, and the things that frightened them or concerned them.
We wanted to share this idea with others. So, Susan and I have created From Me To You journals that you can share with your children; there’s one for sons and one for daughters. I think you’ll see that they’re a wonderful way to help you slow down long enough to get closer to your children and have more meaningful interactions with them. Not fully convinced yet? Starting a From Me to You journal with your child has 4 major benefits.
1. No more guilt about missed relationship opportunities.
You won’t have to worry about missing an opportunity to encourage your child because you are caught up in the chaos of balancing schedules between work and home. No matter how busy your day gets, your child will get to read your heartfelt words before drifting off to sleep.
2. More opportunities for open communication with your child.
Is your child an introvert, or maybe just a boy who has difficulty verbalizing his emotions? Maybe your daughter is wanting advice on something but is nervous to see your reaction. From Me to You provides a pathway to communicate about any topic, without pressure, judgment, or fear. If your kids aren’t asking you, they are getting answers from someone else. Let it be you.
3. Discussion of deeper topics that may not come up in normal conversation.
Kids pick up a lot of muddled information from school hallways to YouTube and beyond. They are naturally curious but often hesitant to ask for clarification. Left alone, truth becomes muddled in the minds of our young children. Journaling often reveals spots of confusion and presents an opportunity for discussion.
4. A keepsake of developing thoughts, experiences, and personalities.