As a son, the most impactful gift I ever received was a leather bound scrapbook, and I know that the digital journal I am creating with the help of a daily journaling app will be the most valuable gift I will ever give to my children.
When my daughter was 12, she said, “Dad, when I grow up I want to marry a man just like you,” and it filled me with an incredible sense of joy and gratitude. I wanted to hold that moment forever, but I knew over time it would slip away. So I just took a selfie with her and captioned it with one sentence in my Legacy Journal App, “This was the moment you said, ‘when I grow up I want to marry a man just like you,’ and melted my heart”.
It took all of 30 seconds but I know that this and the hundreds of other moments the daily journaling app has helped me capture will ultimately become the legacy I leave for her. I hope I will be in her life for many years to come, but if something should happen to me and I am not, I know that this journal is a way for me to share wisdom, show love, and find presence in her life forever. A digital journal is a gift for the people you share it with and for yourself.
The Only Gift That Ever Made Me Cry
For me, this journey started several years before my first child was born. When I turned 30 years old, my stepmother, Donna, gave me the leather bound scrapbook I mentioned earlier. It included photos, mementos, and stories written in the margins.
It included recollections of camping trips jaunts to the beach, and the jokes we would tell on the seemingly countless road trips we would take together as a family. And it included photos and stories of loved ones who are no longer with us among the living.
It was (and still is) the most beautiful and heartfelt gift that I have ever been given.
Donna passed away in 2009 after losing a virtuous battle with cancer. That gift serves as a living testimony of her love, kindness, humor, and generosity.
An Advice From My Attorney
When my daughter was just 1-year old (and my first son was still in the womb) I went to visit my attorney about a business matter. While I was there he told me about what he did for his family each year.
He had two young sons at the time, and his family shot lots of videos. In December of each year he would splice together one minute of video per month for each kid, put it on a DVD, upload music for the video, and create a 12-minute “This is your life in 200X” video.
That was an absolutely brilliant idea! However, I didn’t own a video camera (this was long before the iPhone days), and I certainly didn’t know how to use video editing software.
But the brilliant idea he shared with me got me thinking about what I could do for my own children.
A Simple Commitment to a Digital Journal
I figured one thing I could do for my kids would be to write to them and tell them about their life. I made a simple commitment to write to each child a minimum of one time per month.
This seemed like a very manageable commitment that I could keep and be diligent about. I started this process by simply writing the entries in a Word document. This was long before the invention of the iPhone and digital journaling apps.
It was fortuitous that I started each entry with the date, my child’s age, and my age at the time of the entry. I did this with the intent that my kids could later read the entries with context of our ages and where we were at the different stages of life.
This process started in 2003 and has continued now for over 15 years. I have been true to my monthly commitment and have averaged around 18 entries per year for each child.
Our Legacy to the World
Over the years I have shared my journey with hundreds of parents.
More and more friends started journaling to their own kids and encouraging me to build a digital journaling app to make it easy for parents (and grandparents) to be able to save messages, photos, videos, and more for their family members. They wanted something that was quick and easy for memory capture.
I shared the idea with Jeff during the event. He loved the idea and basically told me to get off my ass and make it happen.
Family Stories Saved Forever
So, I went to work and spent all of 2018 researching, designing and creating the Legacy Journal app platform.
In May of 2019 we released our beta version of the digital journaling app. By the end of 2019 we had our first 1,000 people beginning their own process of digital journaling and saving their family stories.
What started as a simple and very private passion project has now become a digital journaling app that will soon be helping millions of families. This is our gift to the world.
A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the WHY for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any HOW. — Viktor Frankl
PS: Want to take action now? Need a helping hand getting your own digital journal started for your kids? Or maybe you just want an easy way for memory capture of your family stories? Check out the Legacy Journal App, get a free account, and you will be on your way to leaving your legacy.
Check out the Legacy of Love App, get a free account, and you will be on your way to leaving your legacy.