write journals and diaries for the therapeutic value of it.
Admittedly, there is value in this exercise, but I have always
written a journal with a sense of historical perspective.
When I write, I envision my grandchildren and their children
reading about me and the era in which I lived.
I highly encourage you to expand what you may currently be doing
with your journal. As journal-keepers aren't we always looking for
something more to write about? What you write today may be the
only record of your current families' existence. Think about it!
What You Think and Believe
You're likely familiar with the cliché, "Don't discuss
religion or politics with others." That might be a good
idea but not when you are talking about your journal. You
wouldn't shy away from discussing such matters to your children
today so why hold back your hard-earned wisdom, opinions and
knowledge from your family's future generations? This is your
chance to be, perhaps, more honest about what you believe in than
you ever have. Don't miss it!
about and for Your Children
Your journal can easily become very self-centered. That's not bad,
but don't miss the opportunity to keep a record of your children
as they grow up. Include important dates like "first tooth
" and "first step." Write about their teenage
and adult years from your perspective.
Your children will
appreciate reading about themselves once they reach adulthood.
Encouraging your children to keep a journal is highly recommended
but nothing can substitute for your view on their early lives.
about the World around You
Given a choice, would you prefer to read about history as lived by
your great-grandparent or from a stale encyclopedia? Instead
of reading a bland page or two about The Great Depression, an old
family journal would reveal the struggles that your family went
through and include how they survived and coped.
Instead of generically learning of the invention of the automobile
from a textbook, you could perhaps relive the thrill your
relatives experienced as they took their first ride. All of this
is possible when historical happenings are included in journals.
If you are one of those who believes that "Well, yes the
invention of the car was exciting but what have I to write today
that can compare to that?" Here are some things that I
believe will be of huge interest to future generations. If you
agree, write about them.
· Write about your first computer
· What was your early impression of the Internet?
· What was your first purchase online?
· Write about the first time that you saw the space shuttle blast
· Man walking on the moon
If you really think about it, you could make a huge list of
historical happenings and tell of your thoughts and how they
affected the family.
For those days when you can't think of what to write or if you
just want something different to write about, print out the news
headlines from your favorite web portal such as Yahoo or even
CNN.com. Jot down your "take" on the day's
happenings. It doesn't matter whether the news is about
international things or Hollywood. If a particular news
story doesn't interest you, simply write "this doesn't
interest me" and go on to the next headline. Even a no
comment tells something about you.
If you use journaling software, you may even want to copy and past
whole articles on occasions and include it in your journal.
Like most, you likely associate this with someone who likes to
show off or brag, but "name dropping" in your journal is
very important. The type of name dropping that I refer to
here is that of extended family members. Do not forget to mention
brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents etc,
especially as they interact with you.
For example, "Today I spoke on the phone with my brother Jeff."
Maybe mention a little about what you spoke about and don't forget
to mention his wife and kids and a little bit about them.
your brother is not much of a writer, the things you include in
your journal may be the only bit of information that his
descendants may know of him. Maybe you think that this is a little
overboard but, to be sure, hundreds of indirectly related
relatives will someday be thankful to you.
Stories and Traditions
Are there any enjoyable family stories and traditions that you
wish to perpetuate and have carried on? Of course there are!
So don't forget to include all of those stories in your journal.
The treasured family stories that you grew up hearing just might
be told for hundreds and hundreds of years to come, but only if
you act now to preserve them. Get with other family members
so that they can help you recall those that you don't remember.
A journaler's work is never done. There is always something else
to write and there are endless stories to tell. It's a good
thing that we enjoy it so much, isn't it?
is the author of several eBooks and articles on life story writing
and journal writing. Michael lives in Wasilla, Alaska with
his wife and six children. Visit http://www.familyhistoryproducts.com.