Family Journaling: Unleashing the Writer Within
- Monday, September 03, 2012
Journal writing was highly valued in centuries past. Today it is viewed more as an option and almost becoming nonexistent in this electronic age, but most serious writers have an insatiable hunger to creatively record their lives on paper. Writing from what you know is the most authentic writing you will ever produce, and writing together as a family heightens the experience.
We all have to equip our children to write—or so we think, but what if they’re already equipped and it’s just a matter of unleashing the writer within? Like the ability to breathe, what if the ability to write is part of the inward nature that comes from being human—because God is a writer and we are created in His image? Writing is a gift from God, given without partiality, but sometimes it takes a little insight from the Lord to release the writer within.
Can journal writing progress to other kinds of writing? Absolutely! A journal is a sacred place where you can explore thoughts, ideas, and perceptions, while preserving the everyday moments of your life and the experiences that are uniquely yours—it should be an epitome of your life! And who knows, maybe you have a best-seller lurking in your daily archives!
By encouraging your child to write freely about his personal experiences, you are laying a foundation for a love of writing, and somehow, in the act of journaling, the everyday moments become profound and the writer’s pen an instrument of skill. In closing, my prayer for you and your children is found in Psalms 45:1: “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer”(NASB).
5 Tips for Success
If you have more than one child, you already know how they all have different personalities, spiritual gifts, and learning styles. I’m convinced this affects the kind of writing they love to do. I have four children, and the journey to equip them to write has been interesting and challenging at times. Visual learners often have an edge on auditory or kinesthetic learners. They see sentence structure and punctuation as they read; they’re born editors. Sometimes auditory and kinesthetic learners can zoom right past punctuation, running one sentence into another. Absorbed in content, they often don’t see anything but the words. The irony is that many auditory and kinesthetic children make the best storytellers. Of course, I’m speaking in generalities. Most children have a secondary learning style that complements the first, but depending on how your child is wired, he may struggle with the act of writing, classifying himself a non-writer.
Nonetheless, all children love to talk about what’s important to them. Have you heard the writing potential in your children’s oral story accounts? Do you have a child who struggles with the act of writing but could be a great writer if someone would just connect the dots for him? We want all of our children to freely communicate what’s on their hearts, to tell us about life from their perspective. Well, journaling their life stories on a regular basis allows them to do that, giving them ever-present subject matter from which to explore how to use language and grow as a writer.
To inspire your children in the area of writing, there are five practical steps to take to unleash the writer within.
1. Help your child understand the writing process.
Writing is thinking. It’s a process by which we take the inner working of our minds and hearts—our thoughts, perceptions, and feelings, and express them on paper. Your child needs to know these things: You don’t know what you’re going to say until you start to say it. Writing is a process of discovery. It will take your mind places you didn’t know it was going. It will make you use words you didn’t even know you knew—and that’s the fun part.
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