I handed out the 2 exercise books to my boys and explained what they were meant for.
‘I also want!!!’ pouted my preschooler daughter. I had imagined she is too young for me to start a journal book with me and had conveniently excluded her. On second thoughts, I gave in to her albeit wondering how to go about the writing process.
After my post on Heart to Heart Setapart (1 to 1), where I share how I connected with each kid through many ways, I started on point 3– Using the journal method to communicate with the strong support from Christy at Kids R Simple.
Interestingly, I had developed this habit of journaling in my teenage years when I first became a Christian. My relationship with Jesus grew deeper as I poured out all my struggles and needs to Him in pen. Through this practice, I grew in my walk with God as He always ‘replies’ me with the day or week’s devotional scriptures. On hindsight, I express better via letters, cards and e-mails to my loved ones as it allows time for me to reflect while I craft out my letters. This approach is especially helpful when I encounter difficult issues that I struggle with or when I am uncomfortable verbalising. Usually a heartfelt reply would follow, issues are surfaced, deeper motives uncovered and resolved for a clearer understanding between the correspondent and I.
Naturally, this wRite connection provided a special avenue to relate in a deeper manner with my kids 1 to 1.
How do we correspond?
It has been 3 months since we started writing to each other. The To and Fro is counted as 1 exchange. So far, there are more than 10 exchanges with each kiddo. We started with the above exercise books and I purchased enticing books for them below which motivated them to finish the first set! : )
What do we write about?
Anything! Includes drawings and Tic-Tac-Toes of course!
1. Daily happenings in school, work or play :
A started with a few sentences to describe his recess time. One day, he wrote a lengthy page of how he and his friends kicked the ball out to the carpark and the discovery of many other balls in that corner. He also related what Jo and he did together in school. Once, J drew a stick insect that he had touched during a school lesson in which I praised him for his bravery as I might not dare to touch a real stick insect!
3. Words of Wisdom from a biblical perspective
There is a candid exchange of how our weaknesses can be made perfect when we continue to depend on Christ for strength to change our temper.
4. Addressing issues of the hearts and habits to improve on :
The principles from this incident, was reiterated in the boys’ journal to remind them of what we have discussed.
5. Asking all sorts of questions
This is what ALL kids are experts in isn’t it? : ) From Why do we need to play, have a phone, eat? and philosophical ones like Why did God make us? to practical and genuine questions like Why do you not always fart?
6. Writing a blessing of prayers or prayer requests
I sometimes begin with, ‘I pray that……’ and also ask them to pray for my health or strength for work.
7. Giving reminders
To drink more water during this dry and hot weather and getting a gift for brother
8. Asking for forgiveness
I begin with ‘ WIll you forgive mummy for shouting at you this morning?’ and explain why I was frustrated due to tiredness and the repetitive misbehaviours etc. Which I will follow up after my child reads it.
9. Words of Encouragement
This is something I included in the recent exchanges. I require all of us to End with One positive encouragement to say about each other. This addition is like the ice cream toppings that sprinkles delightful indulgence to the spirit! What we forget to praise or encourage verbally, gets recorded down permanently during the course of our written discourse.
Why do we Write?
- To introduce something new to them
- To reinforce ideas and principles discussed before
- To keep records of our trend of thoughts and what transpires between our exchanges
- To combat my forgetfulness
- To encourage writing in both languages
- By writing to them, my children are exposed to a style of writing, they learn proper spelling and increase their vocabulary bank.
- The act of writing promotes thinking and reflection.
- Writing with a pen and paper is a lost art of communication that is worth preserving in this IT age.
- It builds up the handy muscles.
- It is a useful form of communication for parents who do not get to see their kids much due to work or other constraints.
- It can mend relationships and enhance intimacy between the correspondents.
- It will be a historical treasure trove of memories made in ink.
A few observations were made. For instance, I read out my journal to my usually unwilling- to- write girl. She became highly motivated to draw and slowly included new words to ‘reply’ me. Slowly, I realised she was learning to read a few words by herself and she started to ask how to spell a certain word so she can write ‘back’ to me. (Yes, I know it seems redundant, but I found this process a practical approach to learn language at her tender age, not to mention a meaningful one!) It was particularly encouraging as she sought to write in mandarin back to her daddy!
On point 3, when I review our journals, I find a certain trend of thoughts on self control appearing in many exchanges to one of my children. This provided me with much insight as to my pattern of communication that I was unaware of. As much as I wanted to improve on this area of self-control with my kid, I needed to break this chain of thoughts and inject new words of life into my exchanges with this child. I can start by focusing on other positive traits and areas instead of harping on this need to be ‘self-controlled’ per say.
At the same time, as I end each journal with One positive encouragement, it helps us focus on the good of each kid and slowly securing them with our acceptance and love. When a relationship is captured in the blank pages, it gives birth to new chapters of life and love producing a living story book.
Lastly, Writing begets writing.
Not long after my journal initiatives with the kids, Papa also initiated the journal exchange with kiddos using mandarin! I had secretly wished he would do so and imagine my delight when I saw their eager exchanges! The most recent development was catching A writing his very own personal ‘diary’! He termed it as diary instead of journal and disallowed me to peep into his book. This is the most unexpected reward for me as A had zero interest in writing! Perhaps it is a combination of the creative writing ecourse that we embarked on as well as our journaling that resulted in his burst of interest?
Whatever the case, I am thrilled to embark on this wRite Connection that sparked off motivated writers!
How about You?
Do you have the wRite Connection?
Why not start one for the holidays?
Write to me on your journey too!
Happy Connecting with your children this hoilday!
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