I have recently been made aware again, the power of writing , and the power that comes from that kind of expression. To talk about this way of making ourselves known, is one that we as parents ,grandparents , and teachers ,should ponder.
As a child ,writing became important in my own life, as I found a voice through those marks on paper. I found that I could move a heart, change an opinion, awaken an idea, explain the world from my own perspective (sometimes to myself!).
Here is a poem written by : Leslie Slutzkey when she was in the 8th grade. As a young girl, her desire for freedom can be felt by many a young heart:
I wish I could be me,
Like a bird,
Without a word.
Like a young child.
Please G-d bless me,
So that I may be free.
I wish I could be me,
Leslie is now grown, a woman. She has agreed to allow me to share this, in hopes that other children may think about the healing powers of words.
Can you imagine the open door that words can give a child who is hurting from the losses of life? What if they could put that hurt on paper, and make it into story, or song, or poem? Could that be the way out of the shell that many wrap around their hearts? To share a common grief and make it into a created thing that could touch others and change how they see things is indeed powerful.
Perhaps to make a song out of a sadness, so that others who also miss a treasured parent, could say, “yes, that is how I feel too!” I am not alone. “
A journal is a gift that a child can use to document, share, and look at life. You can teach them that a journal is not an everyday list of what they did, but a living documentary of that which was important.
Writing can reveal the choosing of priorities and they will even get a glimpse of the way they see the world. A journal does not only need to be just written words, it can be scraps of life: a ticket to an event glued into the pages, coupled with the things they learned, and the people they shared it with.
Photographs are good memory joggers , as are quick drawings or small paintings. A crayon rendition of the flowers that came up in the garden, gives them a page to show to a parent who has returned home, and a glimpse into the heart of the child who shows it.
How to begin? A nice journal (I like blank pages) to get started, pens and pencils, and other art materials. Perhaps a sheet of ideas to get them started with questions like: How do you feel when Dad is deployed? What do you think is the best thing about being a Military kid, the worst thing? Questions that make them think about who they are, what they believe and how they can create a way for others to share their visions.
Leslie’s poem says to me: ” I want freedom”" but the child does not know how to find it. Perhaps a child had too much responsibility having to grow up too fast and take on too much. Many of our Military kids can relate to that. You may see something else in it. That is the beauty of poetry, you bring to it, your own life experiences or see something that speaks to you .
Healing can be found in those words, pictures and songs that come from the heart.
There is a desire in within all of us for discovering our purpose, and our belonging in this life. A journal can open our eyes to what we are missing and what we are gaining .
Have you ever written a journal? Did you have any writings that you treasure and that revealed to you something new about yourself? If so , we would love to hear your story!
If you have a child who has written a story, song or poem, or done artwork that has to do with their experience as a Military Child, we would love to post it on our website on our kids page! Directions are there for you, and one child a month will be drawn to receive a we serve too dog tag in the mail! http://weservetoo.com/featured-kids-and-stories/