We had a Family Home Evening lesson about journal writing last week. It was secretly part of my plan to get Jeffrey interested in writing — I’ll do just about anything to get him to practice handwriting, which he hates.
So, we talked about the benefits of journaling, and I even hauled out a few of my old journals to show the kids. One was a little chubby volume covered in faux-Chinese embroidered fabric, used when I was ten. The entries are brief, with a lot of page space taken up with fancy, loop-de-loop embellished signatures.
Fancy signatures were, apparently, an important thing for me when I was ten.
The other volume was one I kept in high school. The entries are longer, of course, but are still plenty of drawings and sketches in the margins. Jeffrey was nonplussed at first, but a few days after the lesson, he picked up the journals and began to leaf through them.
He couldn’t really read them (they’re in cursive) but was fascinated with something that, for him, seemed quite old.
“Mom!” he exclaimed. “These books are history! They are part of our family history! They are ancient artifacts from thousands of years ago!”
I hastily explained that the books were only 15-20 years old. Which I knew for him was an era shrouded in the Mysterious Mists of Time.
“Whoa,” he said, “These are the oldest books I’ve ever seen in my LIFE!”
Which, of course, is not true, but why spoil it? Jeffrey now sees me as a semi-mystical scribe of ancient lore, and who am I to ruin that?
Actually, I discovered that spending time reading funny stories from my journal was the best way to get Jeffrey to write in his. I found a description of a Young Women’s activity that went awry — while singing a slow, inspirational song to folks at a rest home, the accompanist accidentally hit the “demo” button on her electric keyboard, and “Flight of the Bumblebee” began to play instead — and the kids found it hilarious. Jeffrey laughed while jumping up and down, then rushed to get his journal. Without any prompting, he sat down and wrote about his day: “I went to visit the doctor.” (We had, for his persistent cough. It turned out to be nothing.)
Sure, the rest of the page was taken up with pictures of “army guys fighting,” but a sentence! A whole sentence! It was a day destined to go down in history.