Guest Post: The Worth of a Thousand Words

I’m excited to host my first guest, J.C. Nierad, who blogs about pursuing dreams at While that can sometimes be an ambiguous, hard-to-define subject, J.C. does a beautiful job of writing in specifics about how to identify and achieve dreams. She also provides weekly inspiration and methods to track her own and her readers’ progress. In this guest post, J.C. writes about why she started a journal to her daughter, and how you can do it too. I believe in this wholeheartedly, and started journals for each of my kids during pregnancy. My goal has been to write at least once each year on my kids’ birthdays, but J.C. has inspired me to record more of the daily moments too!

The Worth of a Thousand Words

By: J.C. Nierad

When there is a family event, my mom is notorious for taking a couple dozen photos minimum. I use the term “family event” loosely because my mom thinks every time a grandchild is in her presence, it qualifies as a “family event.” Despite the constant flash photography, my mom is only in a small percentage of the resulting photos. She is the picture-taker, the moment-preserver, the woman behind the camera. I love her enthusiasm, but I also want to see more of her in the memories our family preserves.

As a new mom with a husband who wouldn’t notice a Kodak moment if snow was falling in July, in Phoenix, as a baby seal swam in our pool, I worry about becoming the woman behind the camera — present, but not preserved in our family memories. So, I have taken matters into my own hands and started writing a journal for my daughter. I plan to record special and mundane memories as she grows up and give her the journal(s) at some point when she is an adult. It’s not a baby book or a scrap book (much less cutting, pasting, and planning). Just words. Currently, the entries range from detailing the snow balls we threw on Christmas Eve and the experimental vegetarian meal we prepared, to describing a 30 second moment when I watched her walk down our front path carrying reusable bags over her shoulder and holding her dad’s hand as they left for the farmer’s market one Sunday.

While writing a journal for my daughter began as a selfish activity (wanting to be remembered), the journaling has evolved into a much more exciting tool. I hope these journal entries allow her, not only to know her mom in a different way, but also to find value in family, respect for herself, and appreciation for small moments. Through my words, she’ll have clues to my perspective on life and the values I hold. She’ll know some of my dreams, successes and failures, and she’ll know some of the hopes I have for her life.

Any parent can start a journal for his or her child, regardless of the ages of the children. In fact, Mom or Dad, if you’re reading this, your 32-year-old daughter would love to read a journal written by you. Start now and record little memories and milestones, communicate your dreams for your children, and allow your children to know some of your dreams for yourself!

Most importantly, don’t listen to the voices that say “I can’t journal because…”:

  • I’m not a writer: Unimportant! I don’t draft and revise my journal entries. Journal writing is unplanned and absent of any pressure to be “good.” If you write the truth of the moments, it will be a great journal.
  • I’d never keep up with it: Follow my friend’s lead who has a 3-year-old and twin babies. She keeps simple spiral notebooks readily at hand in the kitchen for quick recording sessions. I may write once a week or once a month. I may not even finish an entry sometimes, but recording little thoughts every so often will accumulate into a really special gift for your kids one day.
  • My kids won’t care: We all love the many ways we can easily share photos, and thoughts, and statuses today (thank you picture messaging, email, Facebook, Snapfish, etc…). However, these methods are focused on the immediacy of moment-sharing and not the importance of memory-preserving. I believe our kids will appreciate memory preservation tools that have a little more longevity. I know I do!

While a picture can be worth a thousand words, a thousand words written out of love for a child may just be priceless. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, consider starting a lifelong, unplanned, perfectly unique love letter to your kids in the form of a journal.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jcnierad
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 22:35:42

    Thanks for hosting my post, Abby. I like your idea of adding to the journal at least once on birthdays. It’s amazing how fast a year can go by! We’ll never be able to record every special moment or milestone, but that’s okay. The ones that do get recorded will be shared and I think our kids will appreciate our efforts (maybe not until they are parents!). 🙂


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