Why journal to create memories?
Our mental memories are unreliable. It may seem that what happened today will stay with us forever, but if we are truthful with ourselves, we all have to admit that although some things do stay with us for life, so many, many others do not.
So when something occurs that is precious, something that you really do want to have with you in your memory for the rest of your life, if you write it down, now, when it is fresh, before your mind has a chance to play tricks on you, or change the memory to better fit some future event, then you have your original memory in pristine condition waiting for you any time you choose to open your journal.
You may choose to have a general journal or you may choose to have a focused journal which targets one specific area of your life. An example of topics that make great focused journals are things that children say and do. Whether you are their parent, grandparent or teacher – or in some other role to them – keeping a journal focused just on them can be such a precious memory.
And not just for you.
A journal of a child or children when they are small can be a wonderful way to connect with these same young people as they grow older, and perhaps, if you wish, to leave to them when you are gone.
Ask yourself this: how would you like to receive or have received a journal written by your mother or grandmother about the things you said and did when you were small?
Wouldn’t that be fantastic? You would not only laugh, but you would get to know yourself better as you read about your childhood antics – and it could also make you a great deal more patient when your time came (or is already here) to bring up children of your own.
If the writer of the journal has passed away, wouldn’t it be a great way to remember them, who they were and how they were?
A journal written about the young folks in your life is a win-win situation all round.
You benefit as you write it and as you re-read it whenever you want. The young people benefit as they read it, perhaps with you, perhaps later by themselves, by getting to know both you and themselves better.
Can there be any better thing you can do for yourself and for them than record in a journal designed specifically to be about them, your interactions with your children and grandchildren?
Teachers are less likely to share it later with these actual students, but it can make for a great communication tool and a great learning tool to share previous entries, without names of course, with current students.
They realize you have a sense of humor for a start! They learn some good ideas to follow; they unconsciously learn some good behaviors and some less good behaviors.
They perhaps discover some commons mistakes in spelling, grammar, facts etc, For example a child who wrote that “the driver had to put on his braces quickly to avoid an accident” had really only a one letter spelling mistake, but it did make a very amusing sentence – which perhaps teaches present students a little more about spelling.
The teacher’s journal is also a real treasure for any teacher looking back over their years in the classroom to enjoy. And perhaps some of the more poignant memories, about sad or touching happenings can strengthen the knowledge, sometimes forgotten, that as a teacher you make a huge difference in the lives of your students.
There are many other situations where journaling for memories is a wonderful idea.
What is your situation? What would you really like to be able to look back on years down the road? Are you journaling it? If not, I recommend you start now – you will thank yourself later. I know you will.
To your memories,
Fiona MacKay Young
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