Writing a personal history can be daunting. If you are like me, most of your journal entries begin with, “It’s been a while since I have written in my journal.” Many individuals struggle with writing a daily journal. A history of your life, however, will likely be the greatest gift that you can leave your family behind. I guarantee that it will be treasured in generations to come as your life experiences will give them hope, insight, and understanding.
If you are not a daily journal writer, I will suggest an alternative approach that may seem less daunting. You can find an example of this in LDS Church apostle Dallin H. Oaks book, Life’s Lessons Learned.
The approach is simple, yet profound. Think back on your life to the times when you have learned the most, had a spiritual experience, or had moments of truth. Think about the things that have happened in your life that have given you wisdom, strength, and insight. Make a list of these experiences.
Once you have your list, take time to write them down, focusing on the elements that mean the most to you and from which you gained the most insight and knowledge. My personal experience is that if you take time to record how you felt, what happened to those around you, and how it effected your life, the experiences will mean more to those who read it later.
Each of us have experiences in our lives where we have learned life’s lessons. Sometimes we learned in positive ways and were taught before mistakes were made. Sometimes we learned the hard way where mistakes were made and consequences suffered. Regardless of how we learned the lesson, these experiences are often ones that we wish we could pass on to others to help them avoid the pitfalls we have found in our lives.
Even if you are a traditional daily journal writer (and if you are I applaud you), you may find this approach useful. Sometimes in the daily writing, we don’t take time to really explore the lessons we have gained from life. I appreciate Elder Oaks for taking the time to write out the lessons he has learned in his life. I also appreciate the demonstration of a template for a simple, yet profound, way of recording the history of our lives.
Springtime is slowing emerging around us. There is an energy in this time of year. Take a few moments in the garden, or on a walk, or just in the sunshine of your house this weekend to consider the experiences of your life. Take some time to record those experiences for those who come behind. You will likely find yourself uplifted and you may also find that the burdens of someone coming behind you are lifted and challenges avoided.