Over the years, my blog has evolved and my boys continue to grow. I find that the content that I share also becomes diversified. Thus, I am adding a new category… “Leveraging Learning at Home“. While we enjoy the holidays with our families and begin setting goals for 2016, I am reminded of Angela Maiers and the idea of mattering. Her session and keynote at Miami Device really resonated with me. As I spent more time concentrating on this idea, I sought to delve in to the research behind this concept:
Why Should This Matter?
- Paying Attention to What Matters: “Mattering is not an ideology… it is biology. Give Lasting Compliments. The things you observe will be the things that will happen.” – (Angela Maiers)
- Intentional Activity Impacts Happiness: “About 40% of our happiness is accounted for by intentional activity whereas 50% is explained by genetics and 10% by circumstances.” – (Eric Barker)
- Praise and Gratitude Cement a Relationship: “Emails of praise or thanks… (don’t) just contribute to (our) own happiness, (they) very literally cement a relationship.” (Eric Barker)
- Importance of Relationships and Learning: “No significant learning can occur without a relationship.” – (James Comer)
- Importance of Relationships and Development: “It is through others that we develop into ourselves.” – (Lev Vygotsky)
- Creating Intentional Environments: “We should focus our efforts on creating environments for our innate psychological needs to flourish.” – (Daniel Pink)
I know that I need positive reinforcement and thrive in environments that meet my innate psychological needs so why not intentionally provide the same thing to my son? After all… these lasting compliments and conversations are free and permanent.
What Should You Consider Before or While You Co-Journal?
Diving in to the process of co-journaling, I wasn’t quite sure where we would end up or what the process would look like. Now a month in, I feel like I can provide a little more guidance on initiating and engaging in the process:
Know Your Goals: I found that my eldest and I didn’t have a whole lot of time after school or before bed to chat and reflect and that I also spent a fair amount of time during those waking hours on logistics of getting out the door, getting ready for bed, and/or getting ready for the next day. Additionally, I felt the time that was spent on navigating the dynamic of my boys together was somewhat disproportional to the amount of time spent fostering a healthy mother son relationship with them each individually… especially with the eldest one. So, my goal was fairly simple… to build capacity within our own relationship by noticing and nurturing positive tendencies. Having this in mind helped me guide our ongoing communications.
Embrace the Style of Communication: At first I started writing these somewhat proper letters and then realized that my son was responding with phrases and drawings so I started adding in my own drawings and phrases to link our communication and connect to his style and voice.
Leverage the Communication: While my goal is to essentially notice and nurture positive tendencies and interactions, I do try to leverage the format to throw in a quote or even note emphasis on communication styles. I don’t ever want this to feel like mommy’s not so covert way to teach grammar, punctuation, academic vocabulary, and letter writing skills so I use this leverage sparingly and cleverly as appropriate.
Every night I try to write a letter reflecting on the day, noting something positive, or addressing upcoming events and then leave it in his room after he goes to bed. He ever so quietly gets up the next morning and immediately starts writing back to me and then leaves the journal in a place I will find it. While I will never have more hours in the day, I do feel like this type of innovation allows us to asynchronously communicate. Please let me state that co-journaling does NOT replace talking to your child but it does provide a framework for nurturing positive tendencies, initiating thoughtful daily conversations, and crafting a feedback loop of gratitude and personal learning.
I can’t tell you how special the communication is between us and how much I relish it… well I guess I just did… 😉 I hope this inspires others to take the plunge and flavor your own type of authentic co-journaling experience. If you do, please share. I know my son would love to know that our experience has served as a launch pad for others. And yes, I did ask him permission before posting any of our personal communications.
FREEBIES and GOODIES OH MY!
TechChef4u now offers a Doc Locker full of freebies and goodies that can be used in the classroom. Lots of resources and templates can be found in the Creatively Productive Digital Downloads Doc Locker. Just sign up using the form below and you will receive an email shortly with a secret link to the site and password to nab your freebies.