I have kept a journal for over twenty-five years. I wish I had kept one earlier when my children were young and recorded day to day events as unexciting as they might have seemed at the time. When you reach my age, those trivial events become wonderful memories. These everyday occurances get buried in the recesses of your mind, shadowed by the larger happenings if they are not recorded.
Over the years when I have written in my journals, I have included what my children were doing at the specific time. Being a mom that never wanted to show partiality, I made certain to include each of my seven no matter what they had going on. There was a method to my madness. You see, I would leave my journals out for my children to read. They were always pretty anxious to see what I had written about them.
I found that since they wanted to read my writings, I would take the opportunities to include some "lessons" along the way. Anyone who has raised teenagers know they are not always willing to listen. Sometimes talking to them is like talking to an angry brick wall. You can talk until you are blue in the face, but your words will not sink in. So, instead of talking, I would write.
An example: One day my two teenage daughters (we will call them daughter "R" and daughter "H" to preserve their identity) were having a heated discussion. H was saying to R "You never do anything for me." R responded with "I'm always doing things for you. You never do anything for me." Along with this, they each proceeded to list all of their sacrifices made. Their argument began at about 6:00 a.m. and continued until they got on the bus at 7:30 a.m.
When they left, I picked up my journal and I wrote in it:
R and H were having an argument today about who did the most for the other. I wish they would have known my brother Henry and my sister Mary when they were young. Henry had to drop out of school when he was forteen. He went to work at the West Vaco mine to help our mom support his six sisters. Later he would finish his education and get his bachelor's degree through a correspondence course. My sister Mary also had to drop out of school when she was forteen. Our mom was expecting me and she was very ill so Mary stayed home and cared for mom until I was born. Mary was a beautiful young girl with a lot of friends and popular. I'm certain it was important to her to graduate with her class but she sacrificed that for me. The important thing is that never once in my entire life did I ever hear Henry or Mary say anything about their sacrifices that would make us, their siblings, feel guilty for the things they did in our behalf.
I left my journal laying on the coffee table opened to my current entry, knowing that when R and H got home from school, they would see it and would wonder what I had written about them. Sure enough, they read my entry and in a short time I heard them apologize to each other.
I used this technique quite often. I guess it might be called subliminal messaging.