Sunday, April 3, 2011

Parenting Tip #73 Values Journal

I stood outside on the school playground crying, desperately wishing I was home with my mother. I was a new kindergartener and very shy. As I cried, a boy came up to me—his name was Larry—and he held out a tiny, miniature green hairbrush. “Here,” he said, “you can have this if you stop crying.”
I took the small hairbrush, intrigued because it was so small and cute, and I stopped crying. I fell in love with Larry and liked him all the rest of my elementary school days.

Larry taught me about compassion—feeling another’s pain and doing something about it.

I remember this first experience that taught me about compassion. But I don’t remember my first experience learning about honesty, or patience or forgiveness. I wish I did. But I didn’t write them down.

Wouldn’t it be invaluable to have your children record their own experiences as they learn about these values and others?

My daughter-in-law, Katie, has a business called Meaningful Moments where she helps adults/children record and publish their own experiences so they can “pass on the values they’ve lived by and the lessons they’ve learned”. What a great legacy to leave to your posterity.

Once a month, perhaps on a Sunday, take time to have your children think of an experience they have had that helped them learn a lesson. If they are a preschooler they can draw a picture of it with you writing down in their words what happened. For older students, they can write/draw the experience and value they learned.

Buy or make a cute notebook just for these journal entries. Use gel pens, stickers or colored pencils to make the writing more fun. You’ll be accomplishing more than just preserving a history. You’ll be validating what your child has learned, you’ll be allowing your child to create and develop writing skills, and helping him think sequentially (Caution: Let this be a free, fun activity, not a school report that you are grading. Encourage your children to spell and write it in any way they want. This is their voice!).

What a great gift to give your children-the gift of remembering their childhood. And maybe, it will help you remember yours. So sit down next to your children, open up your values journal, and begin writing.

PS Here's a link to how to make THE CUTEST journals! My daughter made them for the cousins (in picture) for a Christmas gift.

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