Many of us grew up with President Spencer W. Kimball’s stirring injunction to “Get a notebook, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity.” The “maybe angels” part might have been intimidating, but the benefits and blessings of keeping a journal are now widely accepted. Journaling reduces stress, encourages self-reflection, contributes to creativity, and helps improve organization and memory.
The gift of our life experience as recorded in a journal is also one of the greatest legacies we can leave our children. One doesn’t have to be rich, famous, or talented for his or her story to have meaning to those who come after. This enduring gift will turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, even if they never met in mortality. What are you doing to tell your story?
Today it’s easier than ever to fit journal-keeping into our busy lives.
JRNL, Penzu, RedNotebook, and Day One Journal are among the many programs and apps out there for journalers. Since our devices are always with us, these provide constant, easy access for recording thoughts or the happenings in a day. Most offer a basic level that is free and a paid subscription with higher level features, plus they promise privacy and security.
Many find the low-tech, tried and true method of putting pen to paper to be cathartic. Benefits include retaining total control and privacy over your journal. You’ll never be hacked, but the downside is the journal might be subject to loss and there is no backup.
Blogging is another great way to keep a journal. It’s a place online to record personal and family current events and reflections to be shared now as well as preserved for future generations.
Journals can take many forms, from very general to ultra-specific: scripture journals, prayer journals, travel journals, book-reading journals, Q & A journals, gratitude journals, exercise logs, food journals, health logs, line-a-day journals…the possibilities are endless.
If you’re still not convinced journaling is for you, consider the words of our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson: “I would like to share with you just a tiny sampling of the experiences I have had wherein prayers were heard and answered and which, in retrospect, brought blessings into my life as well as the lives of others. My daily journal…has helped provide some specifics which I most likely would not otherwise be able to recount” (General Conference, Oct. 2012).
Prayers answered. Blessings recorded. These are among the important treasures to include in your legacy.