Friday, June 10, 2011

Journaling for Good

Yesterday was a wonderful day!  We found out my boyfriend's son came several grade levels in one year, and that was a huge accomplishment.  We both cried actual tears of joy... for him, for each other, for our family.  We were already proud of how far he has come, and all of us were cheering for him.  It was just extra wonderful to know he accomplished what all the school professional said was impossible.

My son, however, had a difficult day and he showed it.  Apparently the day got worse as it went on, and we had a talk about it this morning.  I asked what happened, and he said bad things kept happening.  I asked him if he journaled yesterday before bed and he said, "No."  He hadn't done it for a while.  His last entry was approximately a month ago.

I looked over his journal entries with him, and they went something like this:
5 things I'm thankful for:
1. boobies
2. The Hork-bajir chronicles
3. plants
4. toys
5. food

So I shared with him my gratitude journal.  It went a little something like this:
I am thankful for my loving, caring boyfriend who is my best friend, lover, and partner.  I am thankful to have a wonderful family, and amazing children who care for each other and the world.  I am thankful for my ex-husband, who is in Afghanistan for our country so we all are safe.  I am grateful that he calls every week to talk to the kids, and that he sent videos to them so they can still see his face.  I am thankful for hugs and kisses, joy and laughter.  I am grateful for the beautiful vegetable gardens that are flourishing, and for help watering them every day.  I am thankful we have plenty of good food on our table every day, and that we are all happy and healthy.  I am thankful we have a great home, and a bed to rest our heads on at night.  I am thankful for all the blessings God has given us, and continues to give us.
I asked him what the difference was.  He said, "mine is just things I like."  I explained to him that he can be grateful for the things he has that he likes, but there are many other things in the day to be thankful for.  Great moments, people we might take for granted, and other normal things in our lives that we don't really tend to think about sometimes.

I explained that using a sentence, and stating that you are thankful, grateful, or happy about something every time you mention something new allows you to re-experience that great thing in your mind as you write it.  A list is good, and sometimes that is a great way to get people started!  But as I switched from writing a list to writing sentences, I found it easier to write more things that were great in the day and my life.

Andrew got it.  He took the journal from me, and started writing (without me telling him to).  He decided to start writing one thing in the morning, some other things in the middle of the day, and the rest at night before he goes to bed.

Any bets on who is going to have a great day, even when a few rough things happen in the midst of it?

Do you journal?  If you do, is it all the things that tick you off in the day, or the good things?  How do you feel about journaling?  Good/bad/ineffective/awesome?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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