Then the Lord replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it." (Habakkuk 2:2, NIV)
"Isn't this fun, Gramma? Just the two of us."
My 8-year old grandson Noah hopped out of the car and onto a nearby rock and then onto a log, and then onto a picnic table and then onto another rock. The fun had begun. We had just arrived at a nature knowledge workshop for kids, their parents and grandparents in the Laguna Mountains in Southern California.
One of the most significant activities of the weekend for Noah was journal writing. He asked me to help him make a few entries in a science journal he had started at home. He wanted some tangible memories of our weekend together.
Noah unpacked his journal first thing and made sure he had it with him at all times. As soon as we completed an activity, he pulled it out, handed it to me and then dictated three or four sentences that summarized his experience. I wrote down exactly what he said. He's an excellent reader, but he was still mastering his writing skills. Noah sometimes added personal drawings, photos or pictures from magazines to illustrate his entries. After viewing a slide show on animal behavior, he said: "If you see a mountain lion, don't run. Make yourself look big by putting your arms over your head and pushing out your muscles."
By Sunday afternoon he had several pages filled with writing and simple drawings. When we met his dad at our usual rendezvous spot, the first words out of Noah's mouth were, "Dad, Dad, want to hear my journal?" His father later reported that Noah read from his science journal all the way home. And he entertained his brothers and sister at dinner with all the new facts he had learned at the Nature Knowledge Workshop. I captured most of our weekend experiences on film, so I sent him a small photo album of pictures to augment his science journal. It was a rich experience for both of us. We shared a very special time together as grandmother and grandson, and we also learned about God's green earth and the bounty of natural gifts He has provided.
Jordan, another grandson, started a creative photo album for his experiences as a Boy Scout. He decorated each page with stickers and stripes and added a few words under each picture to help him remember the people and the event. The result was a journal/photo album that he was proud to take to school and share with his teacher and classmates.
You might consider doing something similar with your grandchildren. Help them capture their experiences and interests in words, then have fun together adding colorful stickers, smiley faces, drawings, sketches or photos with captions. They can make it a personal journal or one for friends or family members, jotting down experiences they've shared, adventures they've enjoyed together or notes about whatever they're interested in.
In addition to a science journal like Noah's, there are plenty of other types of journals:
- Personal Diary: This kind appeals to kids who enjoy writing about their feelings, their friendships and their daily experiences.
- Sports Log: This appeals to kids who like to remember and talk about their victories and defeats and who scored the winning point.
- Vacation Chronicle: Some young people enjoy keeping track of an adventure at camp or a family vacation by taking notes to add to their photos.
- Letters to God: If your grandchildren are going through a rough time, you can encourage them to write a letter to God telling Him how they feel and asking for guidance. Then help them listen for God's response. Children are very perceptive and often "hear" God's voice in their hearts faster than adults do.
When starting a journal, you may want to first gather some or all of these items:
- A blank book or notebook
- A pen or pencil
- Colored markers
- Assorted stickers
- Pictures from magazines
Depending on your grandchildren's age and skill level, you can support them with encouraging comments or take an active part by helping with the writing and/or decorating. You could also start your own journal and make entries in yours as they write in theirs, sharing with one another whatever part you wish.
The important thing is to help them capture the moment in a way that's fun, memorable and creative.