In today's day and age it can be very easy to lose our connection with our kids. And it starts to happen at a younger and younger age. I have thought about this a lot, as do many parents. I have a 7 year old (8 in less than a week!). And the thought that we may someday be separated by silence scares me.
So, with that thought and prayer I set out to come up with a way to keep us connected in some small way. Something that would strengthen the bond we already have and I think it is a fun one at that. Can you see me smiling?!
Journaling! Now, to some this may originally sound boring. Some people do not like to journal. But hear me out. This is not just any journal it is something that will be fun for both you and your kids. It will also give your kids a way to say the things they would never say out loud!
First I set out to make something special. I could go buy a new journal and so could you. You can make it a date and pick something out the really speaks to the heart of your child. My daughter is super crafty and creative. UNLIKE ME! I am not. So I decided that I would create her journal even though it would be a challenge for me, because I knew it would mean a lot to her.
First I took just a small notebook I had and since I didn't want that white paper on the front that looks so boring I decided to add a cardboard front too it using rubber cement. I forgot how stinky that stuff was!
After bonding the cover over the original I decided to draw on it what it was to be used for. It was a journal for us so I put our names on it. She helped me decide where the flowers and hearts went and decided when we were done drawing.
Before I had put the front on and before she knew what I was up to I wrote a note inside the journal. The note started out, "My dearest Charis! I love you so much..." and went on to explain what this journal was for and why I was doing it and then finally how to use it (we will get to that in a moment).
I can't explain to you the excitement in my daughters eyes when she read the words on those pages. You could see that she was feeling really loved and cherished. She was feeling like she was super important and that she was going to be heard and really listened to. Now she is only 7 (soon to be 8) but being heard and understood is still important to her.
My heart soared with excitement knowing that she was going to be sharing with me and I with her all the things that are important too us. We were on our way to strengthening our bond we already have, making it unbreakable.
As for the practical use of the journal here is how you use it. You give it to your child and after you read to them, do their devotionals, cuddle or talk... you know, all those bedtime things we do together?!! When those are done and you have kissed them good night it is their time to write. See, a lot has happened in their little day and this helps them get it off their chest. They can write about what happened with friends, what happened with you, the family or the dog. They can also write about what has upset them, made them happy or things that confuse them. They can ask questions about God, boys, friends, or your family relationships.
Most importantly when there is something that is too difficult to say out loud, they can write it here and not fear what will happen. It gives them a sense of release and the sense of an open door. They know they will be listened too. Now when they go to sleep they put it on their side table, dresser or book shelf and go off to slumber land. The next morning it is up to you to go get it, take it to a private place and read it.
The most important thing you will need to remember I believe was something the Holy Spirit really wanted me to convey is to never act shocked, shaken, angry or freaked out over what you read!!! I repeat, remain calm no matter what! Or you have lost them. This must always be and remain a safe place remember?!
Once you are done reading what they have written you then write back to them, answering all their questions, giving them advice kindly, and most of all telling them how much you love them no matter what they let you know.
I have told my daughter that I might come talk to her about some things once in a while, but that it will always be out of love. And if it doesn't sound like I am being loving she has my permission to tell me so.
Her heart was so filled with excitement. She is ready to communicate and to connect. This will be a lot of fluff for a while I am sure. She is only 7 (soon to be 8) you know. But as she gets older, and this tradition continues... How much more valuable will this be?
I would love to see your ideas on this... and pictures of yours. Share your blog links and pictures and how things are working out for you. Most of all... be blessed!