Enjoying the Journey
Writing is work! It takes time and more mental energy than most tasks. I am currently reading the biography of Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was one of the greatest theological minds that America has known, and this is no accident. His father worked diligently for the education of each of his children. One of the disciplines that the elder Edwards built into his children’s training was the practice of regular writing. Correspondence and other compositions were expected on a regular basis.
Today’s young people are learning to tweet, post, text, and message…but they are not learning to write. Some will argue that this is a different day and communication is so much simpler. The truth remains that writing is connected to cognitive processes. It is not just about learning to write – it is about learning to think, to process, and to articulate.
My wife and I are grateful for the level of education (and expectation) that our children are receiving through the Academy that they attend. Our two oldest children have recently been required to read substantial biographies and write detailed reports on what they read. Yet I cannot help but think that we need to do a better job of encouraging more of this in our own home. Home is the greatest classroom in life!
There are many ways to place this emphasis and make it enjoyable at the same time.
- Write your testimony. The last several days we have done something a little different before we go to bed at night. Each evening a different family member has written out the story of their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A good testimony has thee parts: my life before I knew Christ, how I came to know Christ, and what Christ means to me now that I am saved. Before we pray together someone reads the testimony they have written to all of us.
This has accomplished several things. First, each of us have had to go back and think through again what it means to know the Lord Jesus! Second, it has encouraged each of us to get better acquainted with how God has worked in the lives of those that we love so much. Third, we now have a written record of the testimony of each member of the family. Finally, we have each had to work at putting on paper what is in our hearts.
- Write a letter. In just a few days we will conduct the annual World Mission Conference at our church. I am praying that the Lord will work deeply in the hearts of our children during this week. Our pastor frequently reminds us that “nothing is dynamic until it is personal.” World missions is very general unless real missionaries help us get specific. This year each member of our family is going to adopt a missionary that our church supports and write them a personal letter – a good, old-fashioned letter!
Letter writing is all but a lost art in our age of digital communication. Yet it is a practice that is good for both the one who writes and the one who receives. Read more about the importance of writing letters here.
- Write in a journal. Several years ago I started the habit of writing in a journal daily. i wish I had done it sooner. (Read more here.) Young people can be challenged to record answers to prayer, blessings, and things they are learning each day. Even brief thoughts written in a personal journal can be used to encourage the habit of writing.
Most of us will not have the natural or spiritual gifts of a Jonathan Edwards. But all of us who are parents can work on the discipline and character of our children. Mr. Edwards made a valuable contribution to the entire world when he simply taught his little boy the importance of writing.
If we teach our children to write today, they will be a greater blessing and help to others tomorrow.