Father’s Day Gift Idea: A Journal (+ some tips & prompts)

Fathers Day Gifts

Jim interrupts his journal writing for a little boxing

Father’s Day is coming up in 5 weeks or so, so we’ve been busy trying to think up some new gift box/gift basket ideas to help celebrate the day. This will be our first Father’s Day in business – and we’re not really sure how things will go or what will prove to be popular. But one idea we have been thinking about is giving Dad (or husband, partner or grandfather) the gift of a journal.

Now I guess most NZ men in our culture do not spend a lot of time introspecting and examining their life through journal writing (or not any of the ones I know anyway!). So you might be thinking … “hang on, my Dad would hate that.”  But there is one really good reason why it’s worth encouraging any man to record things about his life – and that is because in the future his family, especially his children and grandchildren, will be really interested in reading it!

One particular reason why a lot of people dismiss the idea of journal writing is that they don’t feel the need to do it for themselves – and they can’t imagine anybody else ever wanting to read about them. But in terms of real people and real families there’s no need for your dad or partner to be a Bear Grylls – in fact often the most interesting stuff to read about can be the little, seemingly mundane, details of their day to day lives. For instance wouldn’t you love to know stuff about your grandfather, like…

  • what schools he attended
  • whether he had any nicknames at school or home
  • who his best mates and first girlfriends were
  • what subjects did he like or hate
  • what sports he played and how well he did at them
  • what family meal was his favourite, or what did he spend all his pocket money on
  • etc. etc…

It’s interesting because it’s personal and it’s YOUR family history being written.

So that's where he developed his wicked backyard batting technique!

But even with encouragement,a lack of time and inspiration are still barriers to many people who would otherwise keep a journal. So here are a few quick prompts and tips that you could give him to help keep the inspiration level high and the time requirement low:

General Journal Prompts

Answering questions like the following can be a good prompt for journal writing…

About your work:

  • How do you get to work each morning?
  • What tasks take up most of your day?
  • What do you do at morning tea or lunchtime?
  • What are the best and worst things about your job

About your interests, hobbies, sports:

  • The results of your games, competitions,  etc – who did you play, where, and what
  • Top 5 things you enjoy doing at the moment
  • Top 5 things you want to try in the future
  • What is your best ever competitive moment – or best performance

About your family/home life:

  • What did you do with your family last weekend?
  • Favourite family holiday – where, when and who was there
  • How and where do you family eat their evening meal – and what is your favourite family dinner menu
  • Funniest family moment

About your childhood:

  • Any nicknames you had, or funny nicknames you made for others
  • Schools you attended in chronological order
  • Best mates and girlfriends
  • Subjects you liked, disliked
  • Names and short descriptions of teachers you paticularly remember
Journal tips & prompts
After a little encouragement Paul took to journaling like a seasoned pro

Keeping a Journal of Lists

Lists are also a good way to journal, stuff like…

  • Things that always make you laugh out loud
  • Things you should change about yourself but have decided not to
  • Places you’d like to visit
  • Things you can cook (well?)
  • Jobs you’ve had –  in chronological order
  • Top 10 things that annoy you
  • Things you hate to spend money on
  • Things you like now but didn’t used to
  • Things that you really shouldn’t have done
  • 10 things you couldn’t live without

One line a day journaling

One line a day journaling is an excellent way to build up an interesting record of your life. Just one sentence every day, every other day or even every week. Lots of commitment required… but little effort really for a great result.

Journal Tips & prompts

It was a hard sell getting Dave off the beach and into journal keeping!

So, what do you think? Could you use this Father’s Day to convince a man in your life to start some form of journal? Or is this one of those ideas that’s more wishful thinking then realistic? We’d love to know your opinion or comments…


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