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Journaling {Now} to Your Adult Children {Later} – Part I

journaling now to your adult children later

Have you ever tried to teach a “grown-up” concept on the topic of say, friendship, to a four- or five-year-old knowing full well your words are falling on little ears that have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about?

Oh the head bobs up and down and the eyes lock in – all signs that it SEEMS as if the small person is soaking in your wisdom – but you become aware midway through the monologue that not one. word. is sinking. in.

Let me illustrate: I’m sitting at the park, watching the children play happily when one of the boys on the monkey bars starts taunting my daughter.  Before I’m able to intervene, the neighbor boy jumps to defend my girl, and all the way home I talk to my {completely mortified} daughter about how the boy — the one who defended her unabashedly? — THAT is the kind of man she should keep in mind when praying to God for a husband.

Except that she’s only five. And the whole idea of boys kind of grosses her out. Which explains why the entire conversation renders her deaf and mute.

Can anyone relate?

What’s a parent to DO, then, with these pearls of wisdom? these gems of discovery? these gifts of understanding?  Surely God would have us impart them upon His next generation?

I don’t know about you, but when my kids finally get to the age when they’ll want and need this wisdom (and when they get to the age where they’ll actually be able to comprehend it), I’m pretty sure I’ll have trouble recalling it with any kind of clarity and detail.

My solution? Write it down now (when they’re little) for them to read later (when they’re adults).

This concept is not new. And, like many brilliant ideas, it’s not mine.

Many years ago, our pastor at the time told of a similar journal he kept for his son where he wrote simple bits of advice (like his thoughts about the kind of woman his son should NOT marry or why playing a sport is fun but not a defining requirement for manhood).

He showed a battered, leather-bound notebook in church one day and explained that it would be his gift for his boy’s 18th birthday.

I decided that day to begin a similar record, and I’ve been doing it for about ten years now.  It’s quick, it’s easy, and the words may impact not only my children, but possibly even my grandchildren and beyond.

This journal is a place to begin conversations, to share lessons, to impart observations, to communicate a word from scripture, to recall a favorite quote, to make known a newly discovered truth…

Like the one word for one year challenge, I simply listen for the Spirit’s leading as to what and when I should write to my girls.  Sometimes, I write little sentences; sometimes I write pages and pages; and sometimes weeks and months go by with no writing whatsoever.

To begin, purchase a journal – one that will stand the test of time because {hopefully} it’ll be around for a while. I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased these, one for each of my daughters:

girls' journals

Next, you write.

I know that for some, this is the stressful part. But it doesn’t have to be! In fact, I prepared a whole list of topics about which you could write, so check back here tomorrow for some ideas.

Happy writing!


Do you keep a journal for your kids?  If yes, I’d love to hear about it! What are some topics about which you write?

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  1. I think this is a wonderful idea! I’ve started keeping a personal devotion journal but i never thought of keeping one for my kids. Will definitely be buying new journals to start this! Thanks 🙂

    1. Yay, Lindsay! You’re going to love it! It’s like having an adult conversation with your kids now. Enjoy!

  2. I have been doing this since the week both of my boys were born. They are now 10 and 12. It began as a way for me share the overwhelming feelings of love I had for them when God placed them in my life. Then the pages began to morph into stories of funny and sweet things they would do, or say. I also record yearly messages on their birthdays summarizing the previous year and detailing what kind of person I currently see them to be along with their characteristics, what their strengths and weaknesses are, the challenges or triumphs they overcame, etc., etc. I want them to be able to look back and remember who they were and what they were like as children. I cherish these journals as I look back and remember who they were each year along the way and who they will one day become.:)

    1. Wow! This makes me wish I could rewind the last 5 years and start over again, when I was blessed with my first… Now we have 3 and I can’t even begin to remember what it was like with my first and only child.

  3. I didn’t have a journal, per se, but when our child was young, I wrote down things in his baby book that were milestones for him.

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