A Week’s Worth of Journaling Prompts: Considering Holidays 7

I called my father on Sunday to wish him a Happy Father’s Day. He chuckled and said, “It’s nice of you to remember. Not many people celebrate Father’s Day.” My son had said something like that when I asked him if he and his family were planning anything special for Father’s Day: “No, Father’s Day is just like any other day.” Taken together, their comments made me wonder, do we honor our mothers more than our fathers? Are these kinds of holidays more important to women than to men?

This week’s journal writing prompts help you to consider your own values about mothers and fathers, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day holidays, and holidays in general.

  1. Do you tend to emphasize one over the other or make equal efforts to celebrate Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day? (If both parents are not living, answer this question as it was in the past.)
  2. Freewrite for ten minutes regarding your feelings about the Mother’s and Father’s Day holidays. Anything goes.
  3. Pick one of the statements or feelings you expressed in your freewriting session and write further about it. Use this prompt: What did I mean by …..?
  4. How do you feel about your mother compared with how you feel about your father? Write about the feelings (history) behind the feelings, as well as how you feel about your feelings (conflicted, guilty, contented, grateful, etc.).
  5. Do you think that holidays to honor certain people in our lives (mothers, fathers, grandparents, Valentine’s Day, bosses, secretaries, and so on) are important or merely commercial (some people cynically call them “Hallmark Holidays”)? Why or why not? What experiences in your life have influenced your attitudes about these holidays. Describe your most memorable (negative or positive) holiday of this sort.
  6. What are the best ways of letting people know you appreciate them? Cards? Flowers? Actions? Other ways? Describe how you express your love and appreciation to people in your life. How do you feel you could improve or extend that expression of appreciation?
  7. How do you feel about being on the receiving end of these types of holidays? How do you feel when you are not acknowledged? What do you want and expect from others? What do you wish for? Looking back, what is the most satisfying and/or memorable holiday where you were the person being honored.

Americans love making up holidays. We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Secretary’s Day, Boss’s Day, Sweetest Day, and many more. Exploring the events and background underlying how you feel about these occasions can help you understand more about yourself. And understanding yourself helps you take control of your future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Image Credit: Yvette T.
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7 thoughts on “A Week’s Worth of Journaling Prompts: Considering Holidays

  • Janet

    Hi Amber- good post. I’ve always considered Mother’s and Father’s Days to be nothing more than crass commercialism. I truly believe that a single day celebrated by giving your mom a bunch of flowers and your dad a wallet doesn’t speak too much to the place they hold in your life. The same goes for being on the receiving end of those sentiments. Affection and kind spirited words on a regular basis go a lot further in my book….now birthdays are a different matter. Those are days to celebrate- the impact that an invidual has on a family and friendship circle is worthy of celebration.

    • Amber Lea Starfire

      Hi Janet, many people share your sentiments about the one-day holiday. Regarding birthdays, in some cultures birthdays are days on which people honor and give thanks to their parents, friends, and other relatives for bringing them into the world and contributing to their lives. I like the idea of celebrating the impact a persona has on family and community :-).

  • Sharon Lippincott

    Do we favor one over the other? JUICY! I’d like to suggest adding birthdays of elders (parents, grandparents) and perhaps even anniversaries of same to this mix.

    Here are a couple more prompts drawn from my own thoughts over the years:

    1. Who teaches your children to observe celebrations of anything other than Christmas and Thanksgiving? How do you as a parent set an example?

    2. How do you let other people know what you want and perhaps even expect in the way of recognition on those days?

    My only training in this regard was the dinky handprint type things we made in primary grades for our mommies. We were on summer vacation by Father’s Day. We didn’t do much about birthdays for anyone, including kids. Cake for desert and some present that was only once of any significance. There’s more to the story, but if I got do-overs as a parent, among the hundred things I’d do differently would be insisting from the beginning that we CELEBRATE occasions that deserve celebration!

    • Amber Lea Starfire

      Sharon, thanks for sharing these great prompts! BTW, as a Mom, I treasured those little hand print things, and still have my children’s. My family never did much for birthdays, etc., either. And I share your desire to make more of these days … celebrating is such fun, and makes the celebrated person feel special.

  • Sharon Lippincott

    P.S. I had not read Janet’s post when I wrote the above. I want to CELEBRATE and make each person the focus of attention on a special day IN ADDITION to regular expressions of regard and affection.

    IMO, there is not enough true celebration in our world today.

    • Amber Lea Starfire

      Some people love celebration and ritual, others eschew them. One of the things I love about writing, and the responses from so many people, is getting to read the different opinions, feelings, and expressions. Like you, I’m one of the people who love celebrations.

  • Susan Godwin

    Thank you for this prompt regarding how we honor our parents. As a child, I really didn’t acknowledge their unconditional love for me and all they tried to teach me on many aspects of becoming an adult. Today, at age 64, I am becoming acutely aware of all the contributions, sacrifices, and mindfulness they diligently tried to instill in me. I am most grateful for the opportunity to honor them in various ways. I donated dad’s 1931 Eagle Scout sash with 26 badges to a friend’s troop. Currently, I am in the process of assembling many items from mom’s side of the family to donate to the local museum in the small town where she was raised.