Thursday, 3 March 2016

Shared Journalling

Amidst all the chaos of our current season: house-hunting, book-writing, infection-fighting, visitor-planning, job-searching (hubby), teen-education-considering and general home-educating, life has become very random and busy.  In such times it is easy to become stressed and lacking in patience, and overlook the children who are looking to us for reassurance while they try to deal with the chaos too.

I've been reminding myself to slow down and make sure I am getting decent time with them too, in between logging on to estate agents' websites and rewriting troublesome chapters - and on the whole this consciousness has been helping, thankfully.  Then the other day I noticed a post online about shared journals.  I have seen these before, usually aimed at mothers of tween girls (example here), and thought in passing how lovely it would be to have a daughter to do that sort of exercise with, then thought no more of it.  Well this time the post I saw was of a plain book with a very simple introduction (not at all gender-specific), and this time I thought, "I could do that with the boys"  I wasn't sure if they would be interested, but thought it was worth a shot, so I found three blank notebooks that we had bought once for a different project that never got started.  On the first page inside each book I wrote the date and name of one of the boys, and the following,

"Dear son, This is our journal.  You can write in it whenever you want, about whatever you want.  When you have written something that you want me to read, just leave it under my pillow, and I will write back. With lots of love from Mummy :) xxx  PS Tell me two things that you like about yourself"

Then I left the journal on top of each boy's pillow for them to find.  Their responses were beautiful. Each child (even my big teen) was really excited, and by bedtime each of them had written a message for me - with more messages to and from me in each journal since the first entry.  These journals are private and so obviously I respect their privacy and am not going to share what they wrote.  Suffice to say their replies have melted my heart and although each is very different in style and content, all of them are proving already to be strengthening our relationship and I am so very glad that I've done it.   We all have good relationships already, so I wasn't sure if this would be valuable, but there is something about writing that is so intimate, it really helps them to open up about the issues that aren't always spoken out loud, as well as sharing beautiful little moments and private jokes too.

Incidentally, I don't think it needs to be said, but just in case... although this could be considered to be an exercise in handwriting/ composition, for me it is all about the relationship-building.  I do not correct spelling or grammar or anything else - merely enjoy them communicating with me, and reply in kind.  I don't know how long the shared journalling will continue, but for now it is a huge blessing that I can't recommend enough, so I had to share here!

PS Just as I finished this post and headed over to Facebook to share, I spotted an article on the therapeutic benefits of letter-writing in suicidal people.  Now my kids are not suicidal, and I am no trained psych. expert, but there are obviously massive benefits to mental health when written communication is shared.  I just liked the timing of the article, so sharing it here too!

1 comment:

  1. This is such a lovely idea, I might give it a try too :-)