Write Diaries for Your Children 05

YOUNG ADULT-CHILDREN: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them. Find what you want to know.

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.
– Ayelet Waldman

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
– William Faulkner

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaaac Asimov

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I’m grown up, they call me a writer.
– Isaac Singer

The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
– Josh Billings

I don’t want to write for adults.  I want to write for readers who can perform miracles.  Only children perform miracles when they read.
– Astrid Lindgren

Most new writers think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s not.  You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending — all in a few pages.
– Andrea Brown

Write Diaries for Your Children 05

Harvesting Passion and Peace

by Kelly Dumar, M.Ed.

This summer I spent of a lot of time in my father’s garden, gratefully picking the lettuce, tomatoes, acorn squash and other delicious vegetables he grows in super abundance there. Often, I would visit his garden just before dinner, to see what I would have for dinner, when the birds were noisy, the sun was still hot on my shoulders and a slight breeze would blow up to cool me down. One of my daughters would very likely be with me. (My contribution to the garden this summer was limited to taking an excess of produce off his hands, and occasionally returning with a zucchini bread.)

Most of the time my father would join me there as I picked, dropping whatever he was doing inside to pick along side me, filling my basket, pointing me in the direction of his best results, analyzing his disappointments, sharing his gardening lessons and theories, animatedly describing his future hopes and dreams for the garden. I thought about all the summers I have spent visiting my Dad in his garden. In spring, summer or fall, if he’s not inside, everyone knows where to find him. He’s in the garden.

The garden is a place of passion and peace for my father, I realized. It made me wonder about parenting places of peace. Where is my own place of passion and peace? Where do I naturally do my best parenting? Do my children join me there? Do they know about this “place” consciously? Do they know how to find me there? Do I spend enough time there? What do I and can I give them from this parenting place of peace that they don’t get from me anywhere else?

As I thought about it — as I wrote about it — I realized, of course, that everyone in my family knows where to find me. If I’m not in the kitchen, walking the dog in the woods, or driving a car pool, then I’m writing. I write many different things, but the diaries I keep for my three children are my parenting place of passion and peace. The diaries are my garden where I fill their baskets with stories and memories, where I point them in the direction of my best results(!), analyze my shortcomings and mistakes, share my lessons and theories, and yes, animatedly describe my future hopes and dreams for them. In the diaries, more than anything else, I harvest peace.

September Writing Prompt

Where is your parenting place of peace? Is it a real or imaginary place? Is it the woods? The living room couch? The yoga studio? The kindergarten classroom? When and how do you go there? Do your children know about this place? Do they go there with you? When and how? Are you spending enough time there? Open one of your children’s diaries and describe your place of passion and peace, and reflect on how and why you do some of your best parenting there.

If you can’t recognize, or haven’t discovered your parenting place of passion and peace, write an entry where you allow yourself to dream about or imagine this place. Writing about passion and peace is a way of finding it.

________________
Visit the website at https://diarydoor.typepad.com/our_voices/

Write Diaries for Your Children 04

YOUNG ADULT-CHILDREN: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them. Find what you want to know.

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.
– Ayelet Waldman

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
– William Faulkner

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaaac Asimov

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I’m grown up, they call me a writer.
– Isaac Singer

The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
– Josh Billings

I don’t want to write for adults.  I want to write for readers who can perform miracles.  Only children perform miracles when they read.
– Astrid Lindgren

Most new writers think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s not.  You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending — all in a few pages.
– Andrea Brown

Write Diaries for Your Children 04

Diary Door Opener Writing Prompts for Parents and Grandparents 

by Kelly Dumar, M.Ed.

Expectant or Adoptive Parents

Often we encounter obstacles when we’re working to achieve something we want very much. Tell your future child the story about an obstacle you encountered in working toward bringing this baby into your life. Was there an expectation, a feeling or a belief that you needed to change or overcome in the process? How did you overcome this block? Who or what helped?

New Parents

This is not the time to have huge expectations about writing long diary entries to your new baby (or babies!). Give yourself permission to write a brief entry that may be a simple line or two about the most special moment of the day. Date the page. Use these brief entries to keep you connected to the diary writing process so that when you do have time for a longer entry you will have the diary handy and you won’t feel that you have to overcome a huge gap. Remember, “silences” during really busy times are a normal party of the rhythm of diaries.

Experienced Parents

No matter what time of day we sit down and pick up the pen, diary writing to our children can be a calming vacation. We make a cup of tea, we sit in our favorite writing spot, we open one of the beautiful blank books we’ve devoted to a child, we get ready to sink into the blank white of the pages of the diary, as refreshing as climbing between fresh, white clean sheets. This is a quiet time, a time to tune out the world around us and tune into our thoughts, feelings and memories about a particular child. We take a deep breath. Perhaps we smile, remembering a funny thing our child said earlier that we made a mental note to record. We write the date on the blank page. We don’t know what we’ll write next. How about this? Describe a moment you had with your child when you felt in harmony with him/her and the universe, when you felt uplifted and at peace with yourself and the world.

Parents of Teens

Write a diary entry that makes note of a physical change your teen has been going through and see what surfaces in your thoughts and feelings about this change. Is there a story you can tell your child about how this change is manifesting in his or her life?

Grandparents

Take out a photo of a family member who is not alive anymore. Open your grandchild’s diary, date the page, and tell your grandchild who is in the photo, when it was taken. What is the subject (s) doing in the photograh? Who is this person in relation to your grandchild? Who is this person in relation to you? Write to your child about everything that comes to mind when you look at this photograph.

________________
Visit the website at https://diarydoor.typepad.com/our_voices/

Write Diaries for Your Children 03

YOUNG ADULT-CHILDREN: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them. Find what you want to know.

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.
– Ayelet Waldman

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
– William Faulkner

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaaac Asimov

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I’m grown up, they call me a writer.
– Isaac Singer

The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
– Josh Billings

I don’t want to write for adults.  I want to write for readers who can perform miracles.  Only children perform miracles when they read.
– Astrid Lindgren

Most new writers think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s not.  You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending — all in a few pages.
– Andrea Brown

Write Diaries for Your Children 03

The Wishing Well

by Kelly Dumar, M.Ed.

Expectant or Adoptive Parents

The Wishing Well: Sit down in a comfortable place, open your child’s diary, write the date, and imagine yourself pitching 3 pennies into your magic wishing well. What three wishes would you wish for the child coming into your life? If they are metaphorical or symbolic rather than real or concrete things, that’s fine – imaginative language can be revealing and inspirational. Do these wishes have to do with the present, the near future, or the distant future? Write to your child about the three wishes and reflect on why you wish these things.

New Parents

Inner Circle: Each of us has an inner circle of people close to us in our

lives whom we interact with regularly and from whom we draw support. Who’s in your child’s inner circle? Open your child’s diary, date the page, and write to your child about who these people or animals, friends and relatives are that form the child’s circle of support. Is there a day care provider you can describe for your child? A family pet who keeps an eye on him or her? Siblings? A neighbor? Describe a few of these circle members and show how and what they provide for your baby. As you write and reflect, you may become aware that there is someone missing. Mention this to your child, and think about how you might help your child fill that space in the future. Is there someone who lives far away who participates in the inner circle via phone, letters, e-mail or gifts?

Experienced Parents

“Come Close!” “Go Away! Every parent eventually has the experience of feeling pushed away and pulled closer by a child who is going through a growth spurt or entering a new phase of development, whether it’s learning to walk or starting school. Pay attention to your child’s reaction to you over a couple of days. Is your child rejecting help with something she always expected you to do for her? Is she clinging the next moment in a situation she previously approached independently? Sit down, open your child’s diary, and date the page. Tell your child a story about the “come close/go away” phenomenon you are observing. See if there is a humorous or light angle to approach this entry from. Are you finding yourself clinging and rejecting in return? Reflect on what changes in your child might be prompting this ambivalence toward you. Reflect on what changes your child’s changing may be prompting in you.

Parents of Teens

Shared Activity: Sit down in a quiet moment and open your child’s diary.  List three things you did with your teen in the past week that didn’t involve you doing something for him or her, but rather with him or her. Watch a TV show? Chat at breakfast? Play tennis? Attend a sporting event? Even if the this shared activity didn’t go perfectly, reflect on a pleasurable aspect of one of these encounters and write to your child about it.

Grandparents

Milestones: June is bursting with end of year activities for the grandchildren. You may attend at least one of these events, whether it’s graduating from pre-school, high school, college, or attending a dance recital or sporting event. Open your grandchild’s diary and describe this event from your point of view. Tell your grandchild what you observed, how you felt. What did this event remind you of from your own life? Was there someone special there to observe you during your milestone or achievement? If so, describe this person. What was going on in the country or the world then? Is there any perspective your age and experience has brought you that you can share with your grandchild?

________________
Visit the website at https://diarydoor.typepad.com/our_voices/

Write Diaries for Your Children 02

YOUNG ADULT-CHILDREN: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them. Find what you want to know.

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.
– Ayelet Waldman

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
– William Faulkner

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaaac Asimov

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I’m grown up, they call me a writer.
– Isaac Singer

The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
– Josh Billings

I don’t want to write for adults.  I want to write for readers who can perform miracles.  Only children perform miracles when they read.
– Astrid Lindgren

Most new writers think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s not.  You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending — all in a few pages.
– Andrea Brown

Write Diaries for Your Children 02

For Parents

by Kelly Dumar, M.Ed.

Expectant or Adoptive Parents

As a mother in a recent workshop shared, sometimes the child we are expecting is not our first, but our second or third. Perhaps the enthusiasm about welcoming this new baby is dimmed by the moment-to-moment care taking requirements of the children already very actively in your life at home. Is there an entry you can write to this newest child that reaches around the chaos to put your finger on a moment of intimacy where you can focus on the one-to-one relationship with this future child?

New Parents

Diary writing to our children builds a bridge across the normal and exceptional separations we may experience with our baby, whether it’s an absence of a few hours, a few days, or more. Write an entry to your child while you are away from your child – at work, at play, on a vacation or day off, or during a separation such as a temporary or permanent loss of custody or a hospital stay. Tell your child what you miss about being with her or him in this moment, today. Tell your child what you hope to be able to say or do upon your return.

Experienced Parents

Siblings bless and curse each other. They will remember the curses without any help from us. But, they need to hear and attend to the blessings, and since we sometimes have a shorter memory for the positive things others say about us, we can help them remember that their relationship is grounded on love by listening for those times when they say something positive to each other. And write down the blessing in an entry, saving it for a time when they (or we) may really need to see proof of it later on.

Parents of Teens

How does your teen ask you for nurturing? Does she or he ask in a different language than she or he did at 1, or 5, or 10? Are you as attuned to your teen’s requests for nurturing as you were when she or he was younger? Is there a different quality to the nurturing you have to offer him or her today? Write an entry reflecting on how your teen asks for nurturing today versus in earlier stages of life. Similarities? Contrasts?

Grandparents

Imagine yourself reversing roles with your grandchild, and looking out through his or her eyes, at you. Write an entry from this grandchild’s point of view as if the child were introducing you to his or her friends. This is my grandma/grandpa _____________. She/He is _____________________. Don’t think about it – just put the pen on the blank page and write freely and spontaneously in the child’s words and see what surprises may be in store for you.

Read this month’s Diary Story Excerpt, an example of “The Poetry of Everyday Life” diary story in the “Share a Diary Story Parenting Gallery” at http://www.diarydoor.com today. It’s an example of how brief a powerful entry worth saving can be.

________________
Visit the website at https://diarydoor.typepad.com/our_voices/

Write Diaries for Your Children 01

YOUNG ADULT-CHILDREN: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them. Find what you want to know.

The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline.
– Ayelet Waldman

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
– William Faulkner

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaaac Asimov

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I’m grown up, they call me a writer.
– Isaac Singer

The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
– Josh Billings

I don’t want to write for adults.  I want to write for readers who can perform miracles.  Only children perform miracles when they read.
– Astrid Lindgren

Most new writers think it’s easy to write for children, but it’s not.  You have to get in a beginning, middle and end, tell a great story, write well, not be condescending — all in a few pages.
– Andrea Brown

Write Diaries for Your Children 01

Preserve Memories, Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem, and Connect with Your Inner Wisdom

by Kelly Dumar, M.Ed.

Have you ever longed to ask your parents, “What was I really like as a child?” Some day, your children will ask this question of you. If you write diaries for your children as they grow, you will be preserving memories and saving your child’s unique stories to treasure for many years to come. In Before You Forget – The Wisdom of Writing Diaries for Your Children , by Kelly DuMar, M.Ed., parents learn creative strategies for building their child’s self-esteem while connecting with their own inner wisdom through a unique writing process for parents I call “diary storytelling.”

Why Write Diaries for Your Children?

Diary storytelling is a creative way of preserving memories of our daily lives with our children while reflecting on our parenting choices, building children’s self-esteem, finding solutions to conflicts, and embracing the soul-enriching aspects of parenting.

What are Diaries for Children?

These are diaries that parents write for their children as they grow, detailing stories and experiences from their daily lives from before birth throughout their childhood years. Diaries for children blend diary writing, memoir, autobiography, and biography into a new and distinct genre with unique features. These living legacies are books of stories about children’s lives in their parent’s own words. They are saved and passed on to children when they leave home to keep as a treasured record of their childhood years.

Unlike personal diaries or journals in which your audience is yourself, diaries for children are written directly to children as if writing letters to their future selves. Your audience is your present child, your growing child, and your grown child all at the same time.

How Does Diary Writing Benefit Children?

  • Diaries Preserve a Life History – Just as you have probably longed to ask your parents – “What was I really like as a child?” your children will some day ask this of you. When they do, you can hand them the stack of diaries you have kept in your own handwriting to answer this question in exquisite detail.
  • Diaries Let Parents Be Storytellers & Children be Stars – children learn to value themselves as heroes on their own life’s journey.
  • Diaries Are Gifts that Keep on Giving – These diaries may be read and reread throughout the years just as classic childhood storybooks are mined again and again for meaning and pleasure.
  • Diaries Build Self-Esteem – diary writing allows parents to put the focus on each child’s unique gifts and development and create a unique and lasting bond. How Does Diary Writing Benefit Parents?
  • Children are Teachers – Our children can teach us everything we need to know to parent them well, if we are willing to watch, listen, and learn. They speak in metaphor, poetry, and story, always inviting us to see both the world we live in and our role as parent through their eyes.
  • Diary Writing Opens the Door to Inner Wisdom – gain the perspective of distance and the power of reflection when you explore the pleasures and problems of parenting through the diary door.
  • Lets You Slow Down and Savor the Moments – It’s easy to take the days for granted, letting childhood fly by without fully appreciating the beauty, wisdom, pleasure, and meaning of daily life. Diary writing offers us the gift of conscious awareness and appreciation of the moment.

Do You Need to be an Experienced Writer or Storyteller to Begin? No! We all have a voice that rises up from our hearts through our throats and says, “Let me tell you a story. . .” Diary writing for our children offers us a unique opportunity for developing that voice in the quiet, safe space of the blank diary page. Children provide the perfect audience for these stories of everyday life in which they get to be the stars.

What Kinds of Stories Can Parents Write Through the Diary Door?

  • Birth Stories
  • Milestone, Achievement, and Rite of Passage Stories
  • The Poetry of Everyday Life
  • Mischief and Adventure Stories
  • Conflict as Quest Stories
  • Family History Stories
  • Stories of Reconciliation and Amends
  • Car Quotes
  • And many more

When Do You Begin?

If you are an expectant or new parent, buy a blank book and begin writing today – before your forget. If you are an experienced parent, it’s never too late to begin. You don’t have to fill in for lost time, just begin writing to your child today – she/he will appreciate the stories you save whenever you start.

What Does a Diary Entry Look Like?

The first and only “rule” about diary writing is to write the date at the top of a blank page. Writing an entry for your child can be as simple as writing down something unique and beautiful your child says in the course of the most ordinary day. Your children will love reading quotes of the imaginative and ingenious things they said when they were younger. Here’s an example from one of my own diary entries for my daughter:

“To Perrin (age 2 ½), November 6, 1994

. . . A week or so ago, in the early morning, just after taking Landon to school, we were walking up to the house from the car when you saw the bit of moon over the house. You said: “When Daddy gets home he’ll get it for me, and I’ll hold it in my hands and I won’t break it.”

________________
Visit the website at https://diarydoor.typepad.com/our_voices/

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