I was raised by goodly parents. They loved me and my seven other siblings beyond what any child could have hoped and nearly all of my growing up memories are fond ones.

One of the traditions the instilled in us from an early age was that of keeping a journal (surprise!) Even before we could read and write my mom would do the reading and writing for us. This left a reverberating impression that has largely led me here today.

In brainstorming about the upcoming Journaling Expo I knew I wanted a contribution from this amazing lady. She quickly responded to my request with this post irregardless of the fact that she is in central Peru on a church mission!

Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

I hope that you enjoy this and note that to read the whole thing you will need to click on the link below that will take you to the Expo Blog page. Enjoy!

Keeping Your Children’s Journals from a Mother of Eight- Sandy Lytle

Everyone in the family was busy getting ready to “Go-to-Town”. Some were tidying the house, others gathering items for the trip, while the rest were grooming. Amidst all the hustle and bustle I became aware of the actions of nine year old Sam and eleven year old Adam. One would rush to the full length mirror, peer in it for a minute and then would straighten his shirt or pat down his hair; and then the other would do the same thing but would wipe crumbs off his mouth or pull up a slumped sock. Finally after a couple of rounds of these antics I asked, “What are you two doing?!” “We are trying to decide which of us is the most handsome,” came the reply. After a few more minutes of fussing, straightening, and patting, the two of them were standing side by side with their arms around each other looking into the mirror. “Okay. So have you decided? Which of the two of you is the most handsome?” Without moving a muscle, each of them answered at the same moment, “I am!”

That precious little story happened in the Lytle household nearly twenty years ago. How do I remember it in such detail? Because I wrote it down in the boys’ journals shortly after it occurred. Tiny moments like this happen every day in our lives. Sometimes these incidents are endearing; sometimes lessons are learned, and once in a while the situation is devastating. These small happenings are what bonds families and strengthens individuals. If these incidents are not recorded, they are lost in the winds of history. 

I started keeping a journal for our first son shortly after he was born, (over forty years ago). Of course in those days there were no computers. Nonetheless, my simple method of handwritten entries worked well. Every few days, or each time our son did something worth remembering, I would write the little happenings down in a notebook that I kept handy. At the end of each year, I would pull out my typewriter and typed up the antidotes on heavy stock paper, adding pertinent pictures that went along with the history. These would go into a three ring binder.

Photo Credit – Sam Lytle

It became the tradition in our family that when a Lytle child turned eight, they received a personal journal of their own. Every few weeks, Dad would call all the family together with the words “Bring your journals.” He would choose a date and then have everyone open their books to that date. We would laugh and giggle as the different entries were read from that day in the past from the children’s own recorded words. Then Dad would have everyone take a few minutes to catch up their journals…

Read the rest at the Journaling Expo Blog here.