Nonetheless, all children love to talk about what’s important to them. Have you heard the writing potential in your children’s oral story accounts? Do you have a child who struggles with the act of writing but could be a great writer if someone would just connect the dots for him? We want all of our children to freely communicate what’s on their hearts, to tell us about life from their perspective. Well, journaling their life stories on a regular basis allows them to do that, giving them ever-present subject matter from which to explore how to use language and grow as a writer.
To inspire your children in the area of journaling, here are six practical steps to take to unleash the writer within.
1. Help your child understand the writing process.
Writing is thinking. It’s a process by which we take the inner working of our minds and hearts—our thoughts, perceptions, and feelings, and express them on paper. Your child needs to know these things: You don’t know what you’re going to say until you start to say it. Writing is a process of discovery. It will take your mind places you didn’t know it was going. It will make you use words you didn’t even know you knew—and that’s the fun part.
If your child says there is nothing to write about on any certain subject, just tell him he won’t know what he’s going to say until he actually starts saying it. Tell him to listen for a title or the first sentence, and once he hears it in his head, take it from there.
2. If you can talk, you can write.
No two people are alike. Each one has a different way of expressing himself—his own writing voice consisting of inborn rhythms, vocabulary choices, and ideas. Is your child an auditory learner? He needs to know his talking voice can become his writing voice. That’s why journaling is so valuable. It will give him an opportunity to become familiar with his unique writing voice as he records his life stories.
3. A reason to write.
Imagine a world without words: no Bible, no books, no journals, no letters—no past, only present. No remembrances of your life because you didn’t like to write or you wouldn’t take the time to write it down. “Preserving your life stories for now and future generations” is reason enough to write.
4. Write from what you know.
Writing from what you know is much easier than having to make it up. You’re never at a loss for writing material when you write from your personal experience. Have fun and be creative. Everyone can write and should write, not because they have to, but because they get to.
5.Transcribe the entry.
Transcribe journal entries for little children or older children who are not fluent (unable to take all the words they have in their head and put them on paper). Become your child’s scribe until he is able to take over, either through writing in a journal or typing his entries on the keyboard. Help him gain confidence by removing the hindrances until they’re a non-issue.
6. Read other people’s journals entries.
Reading other people’s journal entries is all that is needed sometimes to unleash the writer within. When my son, Eric (21) was home for a visit in September, we gathered together as he began to read his journal entries from when he was a boy. Then, my daughter, Anna (13), began to read some of the entries I had transcribed for her when she was a little girl. It was a poignant moment as we relived the past through the words of their experience, and it was just what Anna needed to hear. Later she said to me, “I want to a creative writer just like Eric!” Yes, I thought, this is exactly why Eric began to write. I read other people’s journal entries to him.
All four of my children’s journal entries (ages 15 to 2) can be found in The Gift of Family Writing. Spanning a period of eight years, I documented the process by which they learned to write, what they wrote, and the simple methods you can utilize to encourage your own children to grow as writers by journaling their life stories as they happen. You can purchase The Gift of Family Writing here.
Filled with examples of journal entries, essays and writing styles – The Gift of Family Writing
is for writers of all ages, by writers of all ages. ~ Jill Novak
“All my children have a lot of words. They talk constantly. I just have never really known how to turn that into writing, yet after reading your book, it all seemed so simple.” ~Melissa Parsons
The Gift of Family Writing is the culmination of eight years of discovery—the journey of how our family began writing together and the joy we’ve experienced along the way. It’s bursting with examples to help you and your family capture your life stories as they happen; and it’s packed with practical tools and ideas that will inspire your children (even the most reluctant ones) to value their personal experiences and write about them creatively. If you feel that writing isn’t your strong point, you’ll gain confidence from this method, and so will your children.
The Gift of Family Writing Will Teach you how to…
Enable children of all ages – preschool through high school – to capture their life stories as they happen
Equip ALL your children, regardless of their learning styles, to become confident writers
Encourage even the most reluctant writers to utilize their oral storytelling skills as the basis for their writing
Inspire children who hate to write
Develop the practical techniques that “real” authors use as they write from what they know
Strengthen family relationships through the written word
Communicate vision and a hope in Christ to each of your children
Express gratitude for loved ones through tribute writing
Preserve your spiritual legacy for future generations
If you’re looking for a way to make writing a
natural part of your everyday life, you’ll love this book…
and your children will too!
Did you know you can teach your children how to write and preserve family memories at the same time? The Gift of Family Writing transcends age barriers – it works beautifully for little children who can’t read, but have a lot to say, and it works for older children who hate to write or those who are gifted storytellers, but can’t get their thoughts on the page due to developing spelling or handwriting skills. It transcends learning styles, and establishes a strong foundation for writing from what you know, utilizing many techniques that “real” writers use.
The Gift of Family Writing isn’t just for children, it’s for parents, too! You’ll be inspired to put your pen to paper as you read about the different ways you can write to and with your children. Family journaling, memoir, personal essay, letter writing, and spiritual testimonies, and tributes are just a few of the genres that you will explore in The Gift of Family Writing. You’ll be motivated to make writing a priority when you see how the written word can strengthen family relationships and preserve a spiritual legacy for generations to come.
A Learning Lifestyle for the Whole Family
The Gift of Family Writing isn’t an activity, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of seeing and thinking, a way of appreciating the little things in life, a way of savoring everyday moments and valuing the individuality of family members. Written by Jill Novak and published by Remembrance Press, The Gift of Family Writing will show you how to connect your family’s hearts on paper and nurture family relationships.
Like the genealogies of the Bible, words beget words and stories beget stories. Before you know it, you’re recording the ordinary moments of your day, and something extraordinary happens—you and your children become writers! The gift of words and the means of expressing them flow from the heart of God to all of your children. When you teach them to capture their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions on paper, you enable them to remember; and in remembering your family members are bonded to each other and the Lord in a more profound way.
Families are constantly changing. Children grow up and leave childish things behind. As time goes by, the memory of your home life with them fades. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Your family’s life stories and unique spiritual heritage can be preserved through The Gift of Family Writing.
Remembering the Past
Every family has at least one member who can remember—as if it were yesterday—events that happened in the family when he or she was a child. My husband Robert (the only boy among three sisters) is the storyteller in his family. Most of his accounts are about the family farm and fishing trips in Canada. Our children were raised on these stories and value them as part of their heritage. When our family moved to a farm in 1999, new “farm stories” began to take shape. I recorded them in a journal, knowing we would forget these experiences if I didn’t write them down. My husband’s love of storytelling had rubbed off on me.
Gradually I was drawn to read books about recording your life stories and writing from the heart. Geared toward adults, these books focused on writing memoirs or life stories for your children and grandchildren. As I read, a thought arose in my mind: Why aren’t we recording our children’s life stories as they happen? We’re with them all the time. What wouldn’t any of us give to read—in our own words—the accounts of people, places, or things that mattered to us when we were young? How much easier it would be for our children to write their life stories now, while they’re still fresh on their minds!
I began to really listen to my children. I was amazed to hear how many words they used to describe their experiences, and surprised at how naturally they expressed themselves. The younger ones only needed me to write their stories down. A bond formed that wasn’t there before; I was hearing the hearts of my children through the words of their experience.
Recording Your Life Stories
You may not have thought about recording your life stories together as a family. I know I hadn’t. I’m amazed that it never occurred to me to have my two oldest children narrate their daily experiences to me when they were younger. I didn’t realize that we could write about all the wonderful things we’ve done together as a family or that I could preserve my spiritual walk so my children and grandchildren would know the awesome God we serve. One thing I’ve learned, though, it’s never too late to journal your life stories. As long as you live and breathe there will be plenty of experiences to preserve on paper.
Order the Gift of Family Writing here: http://remembrancepressbookstore.com/collections/the-gift-of-family-writing
If there is one word that describes The Gift of Family Writing, it’s relationship—the relationship of family members to one another through the written word. The written word has the power to bless, bond, heal, guide, and give life because written communication is a gift from God. Only within the security of family relationships do we have the freedom to express what’s on our hearts and anticipate a response. Through journaling and letter writing, relationships with God and our family members are strengthened.
Interactive journaling is an exchange of words between parents and children, siblings and spouses. This type of journaling is nothing like the secret diaries we grew up with. Family members are encouraged to minister to one another by writing in each other’s journals. Interactive journaling allows words to be given away as gifts for the purpose of building strong relationships; it’s a form of communication that bridges the gap like no other.
Lately, as I have been transcribing one of my children’s life stories or entering a word of encouragement in their journals, I’ve wondered how I can convey the joy I feel when I know that I am connecting with each one of them in such a profound way. I used to think journaling was an option, but I’m not so sure anymore. If there’s no record of your family’s walk with the Lord, what do your children have when they leave home to start families of their own? Only memories! What does the next generation have? A few impressions of their godly heritage—that’s all! When I pondered this question these words came to me in the form of a poem.
No Words ~ by Jill Novak
I had a family but I kept no words
To describe the way their faces looked
Or the way they used to call my name
I try to remember but it’s all so vague.
My mind is old and cannot see
Beyond the veiled tapestry.
The life I know I must have lived
Beyond recall and ever dim.
I ask myself, how can this be?
Oh, memory, how you fail me.
I am often asked, “What kind of words can we write in each other’s journals?” You can write words about everyday moments, special times, Father’s and Mother’s Day, birthdays, blessing parties, anniversaries, observations about life, words of encouragement, apologies, words of healing, and the testimony of your spiritual journey. I’ve highlighted the possibilities in The Gift of Family Writing.
Order the Gift of Family Writing and Audio Workshop on CD here http://remembrancepressbookstore.com/collections/the-gift-of-family-writing