I really, really don’t have time to write a blog post, but I must interrupt my unplanned blogging hiatus to share with you how I thoroughly enjoyed the brief time I had with a group of fourth graders earlier today (my little one’s class). We talked about and played with some of the things that bring me joy–writing, list journaling, stickers, and washi tape!
The kids must have been as excited as I was: One of the parents sent me a text message thanking me for taking time out to do something special with and for the kids. I joked that the kids are really my captive audience–since very few of my adult friends want to play with stickers and make lists just for the fun of it.
I spoke with the kids about list journaling, showed them a “100 Things That Give Me Joy” list I wrote a little over a year ago, and challenged them as a class to write 100 things that make them happy. I figured, if everyone worked toward writing 10 each, maybe, we’d get to 100 collectively.
They had a blast selecting stickers and washi tape and decorating their new journals. In fact, some of them spent a lot more time on decorating than they did on writing!
If you’ve ever wondered what makes kids happy, here’s a list–in their own words:
- L.A.R.P.ing (If you guessed that my child wrote this one, you are absolutely right! Just in case you don’t know, LARP is an acronym for “Live Action Role Play”)
- Tigers (and bears, oh my!–I added that part for dramatic effect. Did it work?)
- The Philippine eagle (very specific!)
- A great view
- Drawing smiling faces
- Singing happy songs
- Watching television
- Physical Education (PE)
- Dressing up
- Doing hair
- Sleep (Yes!)
- Going to restaurants
- Reading the Bible
- Love (Hugs for this one)
- Mom (Of course!)
- Ice cream (Surprisingly, I saw this only on one list)
- My pet
- This journal (Aww…)
- My toys
- When people play with me
- When my parents buy things for me
- Taking care of animals
- Watching the flags outside the school
- Swimming during the hot summer
- Working out at the gym near home (This child is inspiring! How many nine-year-olds work out?)
- Watching stars in the sky
- Superman movies
- The color pink
We fell a bit short of the 100-mark, but most of the kids wrote at least 10 things. It just so happens that many of the same things make them happy. As a whole, they seem to value and find joy in things that really matter–God, family, and friends were on almost every list. I like that they take pleasure in participating instead of passively watching.
Their lists did not reflect the materialism that is so much a part of our cultures.They proved the point that no matter how much they whine, beg, and “barter,” electronics, clothes, and the latest “things” don’t really make kids happy.
We ended our short time together with their making a commitment to continue working on the lists and writing in their journals. That was the goal–to get them writing for pleasure on a regular basis.
Thank you, Mrs. Johnson, for sharing your class time with me!
Just in case you have no idea what I mean by “list journaling,” it is simply journaling via list, usually based on a prompt. Although it is an easier way to approach journaling, it is amazing how much we can learn about ourselves through listing.
If you’re interested, there are many wonderful list journal “communities.” My favorites are:
- The Reset Girl’s #ListersGottaList–provides monthly list journaling prompts for adults and children
- Kam and Amy’s 30 Days of List–provides journal prompts for three months out the year. A small fee is required.
You can go all the way out and embellish your journal with stickers, stamps, washi tape, art, etc. or you can keep it simple and just make lists. It’s all up to you!
That’s it for now. Be sure to “tune in” again soon. I plan to share with you artwork by the same group of fourth graders! Children’s art–one of the things that give me joy!