When we think about literacy, we often think of having the ability to read. What is just as important, although not as commonly thought about, is the ability to write.
We give our children a valuable gift when we keep a journal. Our thoughts and feelings, written down to be treasured, can be read by them when they are having a hard time, and they can be comforted by seeing how we endured our trials. When our children see that we were nerds in school or we didn’t get asked to the prom or we didn’t get on the football team, it helps them to see us in a new light, and it helps them to put their lives into perspective.
Journals are also valuable for us. Have you ever had an uplifting thought or flash of joy and neglected to write it down, only to wish later that you had taken a moment to record it? When you have a journal and you write down those happy moments, you can come back time and time again and relive that feeling, especially when you’re down. You can count your blessings in your journal, and keep focused on all that is good in your life.
You may not know it, but perhaps you are doing something in your life that is so incredible, your descendants will want to know all about you. My great-great-grandfather Benjamin Perkins was asked to go on a mission to the southeast corner of Utah and help establish the land that is now called Bluff. He used his skills as a coal miner and engineered a portion of the road that would get them safely to their destination. What he accomplished was truly miraculous, but he didn’t know what an impact his life would have on those around him. He only knew that it was important to keep a life history. As he grew into his later years, he told his story to someone who wrote it down for him. You see, Ben was illiterate, but that didn’t stop him from recording his life history, and now I have a copy of his story, told in his own words.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not rich or famous, or if you think your life is just too boring. Keep a journal. It may never be produced by a New York publisher and make a million dollars, but it will be worth more than that to your family as they read about you and draw closer to you through your words.