Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

No comments

Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I’ll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.


Family Stories

A 2010 study by psychologists Robyn Fivush and Marshall Duke and former graduate student Jennifer Bohanek of the Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life found that adolescents who reported knowing more stories about their family’s past showed higher levels of emotional well-being and identity achievement.

Researchers tape-recorded dinnertime conversations of 66 middle class, two-parent families with children between the ages of 14 and 16 and then asked the teens to respond to 20 yes/no questions and several standardized measures of family functioning, identity development and well-being.

Ten of the Do You Know questions are listed below. Use them during your next dinnertime conversation.

  • Do you know how your parents met?
  • Do you know where some of your grandparents met?
  • Do you know where your parents were married?
  • Do you know which person in your family you look most like?
  • Do you know which person in the family you act most like?
  • Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger?
  • Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?
  • Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?
  • Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?
  • Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young?


Read the entire report here.


Journal Entry: Ask your child the 10 questions listed above. Choose one of his/her “no” responses and answer it.

Karna Converse is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

More from

Comments are now closed for this piece.