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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Journals and Bored Teenagers

On Sunday I had the opportunity to teach the Laurel class. The lesson went well if you consider a one-sided discussion a good lesson. My daughter is in that class and she told me later that I kept looking at her. I told her it was because I knew she had the answer - it didn't make her speak up. According it the Young Woman's president, their reaction was fairly standard. At the end of the lesson, I could only think how good it would be to return to Relief Society.

On the way out of the room, the YW's president stopped me and asked if I would be willing to teach a Tuesday night class on journaling to the group. My first question to her was to inquire as to whether I had to keep an active journal to take on the task. She said my name came to mind because I am the only writer she knows and she figured if anyone was going to keep a journal, it would be a writer.I told her to give me a few days to forget about the faraway looks and disinterested stares before and then I'd be happy to do it. It serves me right for thinking I could escape so easily.

I purchased my first journal on my ninth birthday with some money my great-grandmother gave me and the books have slowly been filling up ever since. To be honest, my journals are extensive and there are times when I faithfully wrote for years without missing a day. Now I'm more likely to go years without writing an entry. Since January I have been trying to record something every Sunday. It's nowhere near what I used to do, but it is something.

As I started thinking about journalling, I realized that journals of all sorts are completely integrated into my life. There is my personal journal - like I said, one entry a week. There is also the journal I take with me to church meetings to record impressions and thoughts (and yes, story ideas.) My writer's journal follows me everywhere and is filled with brief descriptions, story starters, newspaper articles that intrigue me and notes about stories in progress. I also have a school journal where I record brief entries about the assignment I'm working on, how I feel about the learning process and notes about things I need to do. There is also a scripture journal with insights and impressions from my study time, my day planner which has all sorts of nuggets about life in it, and the morning pages I write before I do my other work which contain some surprising nuggets of thought. And of course, there is this blog - which, like my personal journal, has been suffering some neglect, but I do intend to give it some loving attention.

So after some thought, I guess I am a prolific journal writer. It seems I am surrounded by efforts to leave some sort of record of my thoughts and insights. Some of these attempts are more neglected than others, though which one gets ignored always changes.

Now I need to figure out how to take the obsession I have with the written word and relay some of that to the girls. A simple lecture will leave them all snoring in their seats and if I ask for too many answers to too many questions, the girls are bound to get that blank look as their minds wandering far from the topic at hand.

A few vague concepts are floating around in my head, but I'm looking for ideas. How would you get sixteen and seventeen year old girls enthused about keeping a journal and present it in such a way that they all stay awake?

And since I still have a bunch of handmade journal/scrapbooks I made at Christmas time, lets turn this into a contest. There are several books left, so you may be able to pick the color you like. Everyone who comments with an idea for this presentation will be entered to win. If you mention this on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog you get another entry. I'll draw a name on March 1st.

13 comments:

Sheila said...

Could you possibly round up some journal entries from their own ancestors that are interesting or pivitol. Reminding them that if their ancestors didn't have a habit of writing in a journal then this event would have been forgotten long ago.. Giving them a reason to write it down for their posterity. There could be hundreds of entries in a journal that are everyday stuff or just slightly interesting but if there is ONE amazing thing that can help someone else than it is worth all the time of writing what we think is mundane. Those things dont get recorded unless we record the day to day stuff.
What ever you do - it will be inspired. If they seem bored than too bad for them, they are missing out. Sometimes it is the leaders that learn more than the girls but there is nothing wrong with that. we are all learning.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

That's a great idea Sheila. Thanks!

Amy Savage said...

You could help them create journal jars with questions in them to get their minds going. Have them all bring a journal or notebook and each girl can draw one question out and take 15 minutes to write about that one question. I need a journal jar. Good luck!

Queen of Chaos said...

Teaching the Laurel class and you're experience is so funny to me! I've been there...done that...with the same reactions! haha

You ARE the perfect person who can give the hournal class! Your RS is inspired. :) And no, you cna't get out of it now!

Ideas: Get a composition book and cover them w/ cute scrapbook paper and ribbons. You can do this or have the girls do it if you want.

Also, hand out "Journal jars". It's a jar of thoughts and questions so when they don't know what to write they can write about that. {You could probably get journal questions off the internet somewhere}
A cute ribbon around the top of the jar would look cute, as well as a label on it.

If I was there I'd help ya! I love doing stuff like this. Good luck!

Ariana said...

If it was my class I would read from my dating journal and get them laughing.
I would read them parts of letters that my Grandmother wrote about prices of things in the depression.
I would ask them about some things they think would be fun to journal about.
Then I would poke fun at their kids reading their journals. IE Last night I locked my keys in the car. MOM you lived with the dinosaurs. You had to use keys in 2010. WOW
I would then introduce some spiritual experiences from my journal that by following some of my entries I could see a pattern the Lord had for my life and how valuable it was to look back at spiritual experiences or experiences I did not even realize at the time were making an impact in my life. IE my writing journey. What a fun class. Enjoy make it fun.

It’s more how you make them feel than what you tell them. Hope this helps.
I don’t know why it keeps saying this is from my daughter Ariana’s account. The comment is from me, Jane Still janeistill@yahoo.com Sometimes I HATE computers. So don’t be confused

Ariana said...

If it was my class I would read from my dating journal and get them laughing.
I would read them parts of letters that my Grandmother wrote about prices of things in the depression.
I would ask them about some things they think would be fun to journal about.
Then I would poke fun at their kids reading their journals. IE Last night I locked my keys in the car. MOM you lived with the dinosaurs. You had to use keys in 2010. WOW
I would then introduce some spiritual experiences from my journal that by following some of my entries I could see a pattern the Lord had for my life and how valuable it was to look back at spiritual experiences or experiences I did not even realize at the time were making an impact in my life. IE my writing journey. What a fun class. Enjoy make it fun.

It’s more how you make them feel than what you tell them. Hope this helps.
I don’t know why it keeps saying this is from my daughter Ariana’s account. The comment is from me, Jane Still janeistill@yahoo.com Sometimes I HATE computers. So don’t be confused

Ronda Hinrichsen said...

How about starting out with having them make a list of amazing, frightening, funny, life changing, technology advancing events that have happened in their lives? These are things they could write about to get them started--things no one will know unless THEY tell them. Journals are also good references. I remember thinking when I was a teen that by writing in my journal, that when I was a mother, I would be able to look back at my journals to have a good idea of how my children feel.
Good luck, Stephanie!

Noble M Standing said...

What about a "list journal" Listing their friends their favorite foods etc etc etc. I had a friend that journaled that way it was facinating.

Good luck with the class. :)

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Thanks for all the wonderful ideas.
Amy - I need a journal jar too.
Autumn - I wish you could come help too. That would be awsome.
Jane - I didn't date much, but they sure would be laughing at all the crushes I had, especially since I still ive in my home town and they probably know half the guys.
Rhonda - I love the list of changes. I'm thinking I should do that. Could be eye opening.
Noble - the list journal is a great idea. Especially when writing in complete sentences challenges the brain.
With your help, I think I may be able to come up with some sort of intersting presentation after all. If you think of anything else, I'd love to hear it.

t_l_lynch said...

I am sorry I can't help you with your presentation, but I do want to comment on your journals. I also kept a scripture journal, a traditional journal, a writing journal and a learning journal.

But recently, I learned something. I learned that if I put all of these things in one place, in one journal, I could express myself so much better.
It has changed things for me. My traditional, (I did this, and this journal) has been transformed into thoughts, ideas, thing that are important to me, something I learned, things that touched my heart, scriptures, moments of time, and personal feelings.

Now my one journal is with me at all times. I know that I can find everything in one place.

I also know that when my children or grandchildren read it they will see me as a complete person, not just one side of me at a time.

It might be worth a try for you too!

Taffy said...

I'm a newbie to your blog. Our ward has done a 'PJ' party. The girls came in pajamas and a short lesson was given on 'prayers' and 'journals'. The treat was pretzels and the story about the symbolism of pretzels.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Tracy - I've thought about combining my journals, but some of them go everywhere with me and my kids or husband are often tearing a piece of paper out of them or disappearing with the whole book. Sometimes I just misplace them myself. I keep the journals with my deepest thoughts and inspiration in my bedroom and someday I'll let my kids read them. They are too special to me to risk losing them and there are things that I don't want my children reading now. For now the separate journal thing works for me, but Im so glad you found a way to make journaling work better for you.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Taffy - glad to have you here! The p.j. party sounds fun. What is the story about the pretzels?

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