Do you ever wonder what life was like for your grandparents or what it will be like for your children? When I was young I didn’t have to walk uphill to school in 3 feet of snow, but I suspect that the world I knew as a child won’t be the same world that my kids know. Likewise, the world my grandmother and my parents knew isn’t the same for me. There’s just enough of a historian in me that I love to record my memories for my kids, and we started a wonderful project with my grandmother too. For My Children is a fantastic journal for recording family history with excellent writing prompts on a range of topics that makes a wonderful gift and keepsake.
When I first heard about For My Children by Dionna Ford, I thought it would be a fun project for me to do for my children, I envisioned myself journalling and writing responses to prompts that would give insight to my children about my life and helping them in their lives by passing on my wisdom (most of which I learned from my parents). My ideas changed shortly after I received the book and started looking through the prompts, though. I realized that the best way for me to make this book into a gift for my children would be to find the answers to the prompts not just from myself, but also from the older generations in our family as well. Since the writing of so many voices doesn’t fit in just one book, we’ve been hand writing the entries and compiling answers. My goal is to have answers from myself, my husband, my parents, his parents, and our grandparents who are still with us. Together this should be just enough for my kids to be interested, and it’s also a very neat family history.
The writing prompts range in topics from Motherhood like “What is the craziest parenting advice you ever received?” to On Being You like “What are your favorite ways to express yourself creatively?” It’s really interesting both to think of my own responses and to record responses from our family members. We learn about one another, record memories that would be lost without these prompts, and I think we’re developing a great deal of good advice for our boys. Of course if they’re anything like me and my husband, I doubt they’ll listen to the advice until they’re in their mid-twenties at least, but hey – at least it will be written down so they can read it when they’re ready for it!
Now that we have the prompts and our answers, we’ve developed a resource for our kids. And, of course, we have the journal For My Children which will help to tie it all together. We may even print out the answers and add the extra sheets to the book that way the boys don’t have too much to lose before they’re ready to read it. Of course, with 2 boys we may need 2 copies, but it’s definitely something that we’ve enjoyed. The book is beautifully illustrated with plenty of room for writing except when you are adding in several different voices, and it’s a lovely gift for a child going off to college, moving out, growing up, having a baby, getting married, etc. Any major rite of passage could be made special with the gift of this completed journal! Of course it’s also a great gift for the empty nester whose last child has moved out – once completed, this journal will be an excellent gift for his or her children.
Although it talks about motherhood, we’ve looked at it as parenthood. I don’t think that the book is limited solely to mothers, but it’s easier to get mothers to answer the questions. Whatever chromosome on men makes them want to hold the remote also seems to make them not want to share their stories and experiences in the journal the same way as mothers. Still – we have 3 generations of women writing in this book, I’m sure the boys will find something of value there!