Journal writing is important for fathers and families in many ways.
Journals help us see life holistically. A family therapist with whom I have worked encourages his clients who are in recovery from addictions, from drugs and alcohol to pornography, to keep a careful journal of their recovery journey. He suggests that it helps to identify patterns in their lives that are both healthy and unhealthy and helps them see things are really are, not how they have come to think about them. As we write, we can see the patterns and flows of life in ways that are not possible without the recording process.
Journals help us organize our thoughts. Writing down our experiences and our feelings about them tend to help us process better because we have to bring them into focus as we write. Journaling can give structure to our thoughts and experiences.
Journaling helps us gain perspective. As we document our experiences and feelings, we can see them in a different, less immediate light. We can see these experiences in the context of the rest of our lives. I have found that writing down an experience with one child enriches my similar experiences with the others. I bring added perspective to the process of fatherhood.
Keeping a journal can help others. My wife has a copy of a journal from her grandfather when he lived in the Deep South of the United States for two years. He passed away before she was born, but she has a record of his experiences as a young man and those entries have been priceless to her. Our children and future generations can benefit from our experiences if they are written down. In addition, if your journal takes the form of a blog, fathers all over the world can read about your experiences in light of their own.
Keeping a journal is also a great thing to do with your young children. Each of our children has a journal from their youngest years and every Sunday afternoon, I sat down with them and had them dictate their entries to me and I wrote them down. Once they were old enough to think and write on their own, they added to their journals. Sometimes they drew pictures or wrote a few of the words until they were able to journal on their own. These are priceless little memories for them and for me now.
Fathers may also want to convert their journaling to a blog that they can post online for others to read. Blogs give dads an opportunity to share their experiences immediately across as wide or as narrow an audience as they want. Blogs can be put online for free at several sites such as Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, LiveJournal and more. The blog can be shared broadly or can be limited to specific readers or those with a password.
Getting started with a journal is pretty easy. Dads can start with pen and paper in a bound journal available at almost any bookstore or office supply store. Many dads keep a personal journal on their computer or laptop in a password protected word processing document. Or you could start a blog in just a few simple steps at one of the many blogging sites.
Whatever choice you make as to the method, make the choice to keep a journal. It has great benefits for the journal writer, for his family, for other dads and for future generations. Make the effort and the positive results will follow.