Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Exercises For The Soul - Journals

" Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal." - Spencer W. Kimball "A journal is a continuing record of meaningful experiences that affect our lives. Through his prophets, the Lord has commanded each of us to keep a journal. As we record our activities and feelings, we can more clearly see the Lord's influence in our lives." -The Family Home Evening Resource book. WHY KEEP A JOURNAL? Help each family member understand how a journal can bless his life. Personal experience: I am not a very good "journal writer" but I am so glad I have some things recorded. Recently I decided to re-read the only journal I succeeded in keeping for about a year of my life when I was a teenager. There are not wonderful, faith-promoting experiences in it but mostly teenage trivia like a brief description of my 16th birthday, my first real infatuation, and my feelings upon moving to a new school and making new friends after doing the same thing only a year before. There is this tantalizing entry which taught me what not to do. It goes something like this: "I had an interesting day today but I am so tired I'm going to bed. "I will never know about the "interesting day". Still, it is interestinng to me to see that I had many typical feelings of a teenager. Scripture: To help famiily members understand why the Lord and his prophets have asked us to keep records, read and discuss 2Nephi 25:23. HOW DO I BEGIN A JOURNAL? When my children were very small I decided to help each one of them keep a journal. I got an inexpensive folder for each child. I would write what each child wanted to put in their journal. I could also put pictures the children had drawn in them t00 showing something they wanted to include in their journal. The first night I sat down with Ben ((then about 5 years old) and asked him how he wanted to start. I offered several suggestions like, "Dear Diary". He said, "I want to write 'Dear Children'. Since then I have used that perspective when recording events and feelings. As I have mentioned, all my attempts at keeping a journal have been short-lived. Here are some simple ways to keep records: -I kept my first check register after we were married. It is interesting to me what we spent money on and to see that we spent only $11.00 a week on groceries. That included something special for Sunday dinner like a roast. - I would make notes on my calendar of not only activities but things my children did and said that I wanted to remember. Every year I kept my calendar. -When I was in college I began the habit of keeping a notebook which listed my activities for each day. I kept this up most of my married lufe. I even listed phone calls I had to make and menus I planned for dinner. I saved all the notebooks. They not only helped me to be organized but now I am glad to have that record. There are many things I would have forgotten had I not kept a written record. -When there was an important event I would write down my feelings and store them in a box along with other poems and articles I had written. ( e.g. I am glad now to have a record of how I felt when each of our children were blessed.) -Instead of a Book of Remembrance, each of our children has a 'Box of Remembrance". At the end of each school year, each child could save their favorite school project. (I included my favorites as well as certificates and ribbons.) Each child now has their own "Box of Remembrance" and box of memories. -There are certain objects I have wanted to keep. No one will know why they are important to me when I am gone so I have typed up a brief history of each item. ( e.g. my music boxes, and each item of furniture and decoration at the cabin.) This way others will know that the reason we keep the black rocking chair is that it was the chair grandma Kern gathered her family around every morning for family prayer.) WHAT SHOULD I WRITE? Discuss the following suggestion by President Spencer W. Kimball: "Your journal should contain your true self rather than a picture of you when you are 'made up' for a public performance...The truth should be told, but we should not emphasize the negative." ("The Angels," New Era Oct. 1975 p. 5) Discuss what makes a journal entry seem vivid and real. (details, descriptions using the senses and feelings). (See autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 5th edition, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co. 1961, pp. 233-34.) Assignment: At this FHE or at another time, encourage family members to write down an experience or feelings they think would be valuable to their children. Hymn resource: "The Golden Plates", Sing With Me, B-57. Person of the Week: Sam Manwaring for his creativity in making a "Star Wars" book for grandma Kern and a car out of a cardboard box.

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