“Jumping into Journaling—Nicole Antúnez of Santiago, Chile,” Friend, Aug. 2007, 14–16
Nicole Antúnez loves to jump rope. She’ll jump in place or while skipping along or even while running down the sidewalk with her long dark hair bouncing behind her.
Not long ago, Nicole learned a new trick while jumping. It was something she had been working on for days. She was so excited about finally figuring it out that she wrote about it in her journal as soon as she could.
That’s because Nicole loves to write in her journal even more than she loves to jump rope.
“She writes about everything that happens to her,” says her mom, who peeks over Nicole’s shoulder as the eight-year-old writes in her small journal with the brightly colored cover. Nicole snaps the book shut and frowns. Her mother laughs teasingly.
Nicole doesn’t let many people read her journal. “I don’t let anybody read it unless I get to pick what they read,” she says. Not even her best friend from church and jump-rope buddy, Claudia, has read her journal.
What’s she writing that is so special?
Yesterday, Nicole says, she wrote about going to a pool party. Today she says she is writing about going to church. “And I talked to someone from the Liahona magazine,” she adds.
Chances are, she’ll write about that in her journal too.
So why is Nicole’s journal so important to her?
“I don’t want to forget the good things when I get older,” Nicole explains. And when she does forget things, which we all do, Nicole hopes that by reading her journal “when I am older I will be able to learn things about me that I had forgotten.”
That’s what a journal can do for you. But that’s not all it can do.
Nicole’s mother encourages Nicole’s journal-writing habit. When Sister Igor was young, she wrote in a journal too. Unfortunately, she lost it when she moved to Santiago and got married.
“I was really sad to lose it,” Sister Igor says. “That was my life, everything that had happened to me. It was a personal treasure beyond price.”
So when Nicole’s older brother, Boris, was born, Sister Igor started over. She wrote about what she was thinking and feeling as first Boris and then Nicole were born.
Now Boris and Nicole enjoy reading about their mom. “It helps me understand what my mom has gone through,” Nicole says. She hopes her own children will learn about her the same way.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Nicole has written in her journal every day since she got it as part of a school project. She’ll write in it anytime she feels she has something she wants to say. It doesn’t matter whether it’s day or night when she has something to write.
But it does matter where she writes.
Her favorite place to write is outside, where no one is around to interrupt her. That way she can think about what she’s writing—and she doesn’t have to worry about people peeking over her shoulder.
What she writes about can be different every day. She writes about people she knows or places she has been. She writes about favorite foods and special friends. And she writes about things she has learned, like her new jump-rope trick.
She writes when she’s happy, and she writes when she’s sad.
“I especially like to go back and read the things that happened to me that were funny,” she says.
Nicole, who recently turned eight and was baptized and confirmed, also writes about things that mean a lot to her. “When I was baptized and confirmed, I wrote about feeling the Holy Ghost,” she says. She knows it will be important to remember those things later to strengthen her testimony when hard times come.
Already she enjoys going back and reading what she has written. “There’s one page I like to read a lot,” she says with a little smile. “But I can’t tell you about it.”
When Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) was called as President of the Church in 1973, his journal filled 33 binders. He encouraged Church members to keep journals and taught that the Savior wants members to write in their journals.
The following are some of President Kimball’s suggestions for what to write about:
Blessings you receive
Things you do, say, or think
Things that make you happy
Things you like about yourself
Experiences with the Holy Ghost
Challenges and how you handled them
“As our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.”
From “President Kimball Speaks Out on Personal Journals,” Ensign, Dec. 1980, 61.