Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saving Family Memories

Family JournalLast week I wrote about making time capsules to preserve family memories and this week I'll follow up with something we've done for years: a family journal. It's become a tradition that once a year just before school starts we have a family night where Andrew sits down with the kids individually and interviews them.

He asks them about what they're looking forward to and what they're glad to have behind them. He asks them about their friends and their favorite things and while he's got them in the other room I bring out the family journal with the others for a written update.

When Grace was old enough to talk we began a family journal that we wrote in every few months. It was never more than a couple paragraphs but as we added to the family each of the children wanted the privilege of getting to write their own thoughts.

They've traced their hands, drawn pictures, written their favorite jokes, listed their friends and teacher and glue their best photographs onto the pages. Now that we've been doing this for 14 years it's fun to see what's happened to our family and how it's changed over the years.

Going along with this Cakies posted a great idea called the Family Sketchbook which is another way to chronicle family history and Let's Explore posted their own idea for yearly parent-child interviews that improves on our family's version.

Do you have your own family traditions to record your family history?


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Lucie @ Unconventional Origins said...

I really love this idea. On New Years Eve we ask our boys reflection questions about the past year and record the answers on our computer (we have a mac with a camera built in). I like this idea though, I think we are going to have to incorporate this!

MommyTime said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea, and I can't wait to start a family journal. I even have the perfect blank book for the purpose. It's a gorgeous leather-bound journal that I bought in Florence, Italy, when I was pregnant with Son. I had dreams of writing him letters throughout his life in it -- but those first four months were so hard that I couldn't bear to chronicle them, and then I lost the mojo. This will be the perfect use of it! Thank you.

Erin said...

I do this with my boys. I started a journal with each of them the day they were born, and wrote little snippets about what they are doing. Then on their birthday each year I trace their hand. Now that my son is starting to write (age 5), I am having him write an occasional sentence. So fun!

Suzie B. said...

Wow! You never fail to present these great ideas! Where WERE you when my kids were growing up? (Never mind. Don't answer that!) Anyway, I think I've pretty much missed that "window of opportunity" as my children are all grown and gone. Although my (poor example of a) blog is a mixture of unrelated topics, one of the reasons I began blogging was to put into writing some of our family stories before they're lost - things about my kids, my own childhood and things my mother might remember. You are so fortunate to have had the foresight AND found the time to document your family's history from an early point! I thoroughly enjoy your blog, by the way.

Jennifer said...

What a great idea! Time slips by so quickly - taking the time to do this each year would be such a wonderful keepsake to have as they get older. Thanks for your wonderful post :)

Kellie said...

What a great idea! I'm totally going to go out and get a blank book we can use for a family journal!

Heather said...

Oh this idea is wonderful. I'm going to try this.

diane said...

Now I feel guilty.
My twins are seven already and although I had heard ideas like this before I never did anything about it.
I'll be buying a journal on my next shopping trip.
Thanks for sharing and motivating me with your special tradition.

chelle said...

What a fabulous idea! I just wrote about this on ... I was thinking of setting up a family binder

M said...

Love this idea...Our oldest is 6 now and has started in our family journal. Up to this point we have recorded their interviews on video and their voices are such a precious treasure!

I HAVE to recommend the book "Hold That Thought For Kids" by Dr. Cindy Dormer to your readers. Its over 100 pages of interviews to conduct with your 3-12 year old. It's a great springboard to get away from the traditional questions and is sure to result in hilarious conversations with your kids!

Scribbit said...

M- what a great resource, thanks!

jubilee said...

This is such a great concept. I always feel so overwhelmed with the thought of trying to record in three different journals - one for each child. I ended up just journaling for my daughter and felt guilty for not doing the same for the boys. This idea is way better. And then I can just duplicate it so each child has one when they grow up.

emerzim said...

I really love this idea. I am going to start one and give it to my husband for his birthday. He's the sentimental one in our family. :)