Introduction to Family Journaling

Photo of a family journaling togetherFamily Journaling is not a concept I grew up with. 

As a would-be writer, keeping a journal was a part of my life: and still is to this day. 

My sister started me thinking about family journaling when she posted several historical photos of our family today. 

On November 11, in Canada, it is remembrance day, when we celebrate and remember the men and women who fought or served during the two big wars.

My dad served in the British Army in Aden during the second world war. My grandfather, too old to fight in the second WW, belonged to a bomb disposal brigade in war-torn London. 

As I thought about these memories, my first idea was to take a scrapbook approach: A cherished family memory on a page. Then every member of the family explained what the memory meant personally. 

A family journal is a book that is unique to your family. Consider it a living, constantly evolving document. One day it acts as a scrapbook. The next day it transforms into a memoir. The journal might include a wish list that becomes a historical family record. 

The best part? 

A family journal is where all your loved ones can express themselves. Imagine how wonderful it would be to look back and see more than what everyone did, but what they thought and felt.

Another benefit is the interaction and exchange of ideas, the growth as we learn to express ourselves, and the relationships we develop as we work with each other on a family heirloom. 

It’s also so simple to set up. You start with a book, large enough and easy enough for everyone to express themselves. You use unlined pages so everyone can draw and engage their creativity. Or, if you like, consider using a scrapbook or even a binder where you can organize your family experience however you like.

Now before I go on you might be interested in my Be Inspired page where you will find my Sunday Affirmations each week. Click on the button below and give us a thumbs up to join other Be-Inspired Enthusiasts.

5 Top Power Pages to Include

Once you have your book picked out, be sure to include these things:

Record a Moment

If you’ve had a great day together, don’t let it end when you return home. Ask everyone to use the Family Journal to express their feelings about the day. Encourage storytelling, pictures, poems, art, whatever they like. Tuck in a few photographs or other souvenirs to make this a memorable entry.

Make a Wish List

As a family activity, spend an hour discussing things you would all like to achieve as a family. Record this list in the journal under ‘Goals’ and talk about plans to make at least a couple of these things happen. Use the book to discuss ideas, record progress toward these goals, and finally, celebrate when you get there.

Talk about Memories

Children love hearing about when their parents were children. Use the family journal to record some of your favorite memories. Encourage each other to write some of their favorite memories as well.

Journal about Other Family Members

Photo about journaling about a families Hopes and DreamsFamily journaling is also a wonderful place to tell stories about other family members who cannot record these moments themselves. Try writing an entry about what the day might have looked like through the eyes of the family’s baby. Again, be sure to include pictures with these stories.

(This is a picture of my Grandad and Grandma after the war in England.)

What I would give to have recorded stories my grandad told of his harrowing experiences.

Or the way my grandma held the train carriage spell bound as she told of her experience with the German Duddle Bugs that fell near a school where she worked. 

Encourage Guest Posts

Don’t forget to let other family members or close family friends have a little space in your journal. For example, the next time the kids spend the day with the grandparents, encourage Grandma or Grandpa to write an entry for the book.

Family journaling is meant to pull your family closer so, keep this process fun. The best part? Every journal entry you complete is another family treasure to enjoy all over again someday. How cool is that!

Next Steps

Meeting around the Kitchen table about family journaling
  1. Call a family journaling meeting.
  2. Explain the idea
  3.  Have a journal project, maybe a recent family vacation and get every family member to post their favorite memory, favorite event, and even favorite food.
  4. Notice that every one has a slightly different experience.
Finally adpot this slogan. A family that journals together has more fun together.


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