Do you have children? Grandchildren? Nieces and nephews? Do you ever wish you could take a peek into the inner workings of their young minds? I do. A lot.
A bit of personal history (bear with me). I am a girl. Shocking, I know. I was never what I would call a “girly” girl growing up. I rarely wore makeup, I didn’t enjoy dresses, I was more concerned with school and grades than boys and gossip. I remember thinking “I just don’t GET girls!” Fast forward 10 (okay maybe more like 15) years and I am the mother to FOUR girls.
I adore these little ladies, but sometimes I really don’t feel like I know what is going on in their heads. I worry that I’m not communicating with them very well, and I wonder if I am doing a good job teaching them to become young women. While browsing the web one day, I came across an idea that I knew I had to implement. The article was about writing letters to your kids, but I knew that I had to do something more interactive and something that would KEEP for years. So, let me introduce…the “dear daughter” diary.
This may look like an ordinary notebook, but it is like a magical passageway into my child’s mind. For the price of a journal (be sure to get a good quality one that is meant to last) you can gain a close and lasting relationship with your child. Here is what you do. Take turns writing letters to one another. This can happen as frequently as you’d like! My girls write in it nightly and I reply the same day. I don’t want to miss a thing! The letters can be about absolutely ANYTHING that you want – from secret crushes, to questions about geometry, the sky is the limit. The idea is to get communicating…regularly. The idea is to have a safe place for your child to pour out their heart, and for you to do the same. Here are a few ideas of what you might write/ask:
- “Tell me about some of your experiences at school today . . .”
- “Who is your favorite teacher? What do they do to inspire you?”
- “Tell me about your friends . . . what do you like about them?”
- “What was the nicest thing someone did for you today?”
- “Who do you most admire and why?”
- “What was your happy moment today?”
- “What made you smile today?”
- “What do I do that you appreciate and would like me to carry on doing?”
- “Where might you like to live and why?”
- “What would you still love us to do together?”
- “If you were granted three wishes . . . what would they be and why?”
- “Is there anything you would like to change about yourself or your life?”
- “Tell me about your goals and aspirations”
- “What can I do to help you achieve what you want?”
What have I gained so far? It’s kind of unbelievable. My children have come out asking me questions that I would never have guessed were floating around in their heads. They have shared personal experiences and included me in the fun moments in their day – especially the ones I would have otherwise missed, or even (shudder) brushed off. And in turn, I get to take a few precious moments to sit and reflect on my feelings for that child that day. It helps me remember the little things that might have slipped my mind, and allows me a medium to express my appreciation for them and show them that those little things are not going unnoticed. It is also the perfect venue for sharing bits of wisdom when you feel prompted to do so 🙂
To share a small example, I wrote in my daughter’s diary how touched I was that she took the time to read to her little sister before breakfast. I commented on the wonderful big sister she is and how her little sister would remember those moments and grow to love and admire her. Another daughter made dinner while I was at a photo shoot, and I was able to express my admiration for the cook she is becoming and comment on the wonderful wife and mother she is training to become. They shared fun thoughts and asked great questions…everything from “Can I plan a Halloween party before Halloween? I’ll only invite 1-5 friends. PLEASE?” to “How old do I have to be to wear a training bra?” SO FUN!
This is an idea that takes a very small investment in money and time, but pays out HUGE in so many ways. Just imagine the piece of family history you will be creating, and how meaningful this journal full of letters will become to your child in times when they may feel alone or in the future when they are mothers/fathers themselves. My children feel loved, special, and HEARD which is so very, very important. It is a great place to jot down counsel or guidance, to express love, to laugh and be human together. And you are creating a priceless piece of family history that will be meaningful for generations to come.
This is a small and simple thing, but I try to remember: “There is NO WAY to be a perfect mother, but there are MILLIONS of ways to be a GREAT one!”
I don’t want to ruin the magic in this post, but I have to break in here and tell you about something exciting we have coming very soon because it fits too perfectly with this post. Mark your calendars for the second week of November when HowDoesShe turns TWO! Happy Birthday to us!
We will be giving away FREE gifts to EVERYONE and it just might include a beautifully bound journal that can be customized with your own pictures. 🙂