The Big Book of Trials, Errors, and Lessons Learned

The other day I was reading about how a mom wished that there was some kind of “life” manual that could be handed down from mother to daughter, through the generations.  In it would be favorite recipes, budgeting tips, medicinal remedies, child training recommendations and so on.  I know for myself I have often wished that I had a manual for life.  It seems there ought to be some kind of “Book of Wisdom” filled with practical advice, such as, “when your child does x, implement y“.

I like to think that back in the “good ol’ days” when families weren’t so spread out, knowledge and wisdom about life skills was handed down both verbally and through personal experience.  During family get-togethers, probably at least a dozen people held “baby Susie” and at least a great-grandmother, grandmother, aunt, and aunt-twice-removed gave the new mother, and any young girls present, advice on soothing a fussy baby.  At first this could sound like a nightmare, we all know about mother-in-law jokes, and probably many of us have such a mother-in-law, or mother, or aunt-twice-removed who likes to give unwanted advice.  But my point is that people long ago, when generations of a family all lived in the same town, probably didn’t go running out to Barnes and Noble for a self-help book on child training, they had the knowledge and wisdom of the ages passed down to them already.

So when this woman was wishing for a book that held all the life lessons learned by her ancestors, I thought, why not?  Why not create such a book that I could pass onto my children some day, and Lord willing, they will continue to add to and then pass onto their kids.  Thus the “Big Book of Trials, Errors, and Lessons Learned” was inspired.

You could make such a book as simple or elegant as you want.  I just bought a three-ring binder at Wal-Mart, scrapbooked a cover page, and then inserted dividers.  I broke the book down into six categories, marriage, family, kids, household, finances, and faith, with two extra tabs for future categories.  My plan and hope is when Brandon or I, or both of us, learn something in any of these categories, we will quickly jot down a note about it.  The note doesn’t have to be a whole essay, just a couple of sentences on what we learned.  For example, under kids I’d like to write down some of the things I’ve learned about helping Job sleep through the night, under household I’d like to put some tips for organizing that I’ve learned lately, and under marriage, well I could definitely put a lot down for that category (not because I’m so smart but because there is so much I’ve had to learn!)

The front cover of my notebook

The various categories

Hopefully Brandon and I can be faithful to fill out short little notes in our book so that one day this book will be a valuable tool of insight for our children and even children’s children.

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6 Responses to The Big Book of Trials, Errors, and Lessons Learned

  1. Karen Brown says:

    This is a great idea! I am going to tell my daughter about it but with just having her 7th child I know she will roll her eyes at me about it timewise. ;o) I would be interested in your helping Job to sleep at night. My other daughter has a 2 year that still has sleep issues. Never wants to sleep, fights it, wakes up at night yet,sometimes with crying fits. Blessings and thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Karen,
      With 7 kids I’m sure your daughter has a lot of great things to say! For sleep issues I recommend reading the book “Good Night Sleep Tight”. The book is written by a sleep coach who has helped thousands of babies learn healthy sleepy habits. The book is for ages birth through 5 years so your daughter should be able to find a lot of help. Hope that helps!

  2. Do you have a copy machine? Make sure each of your kids gets a copy when they move out!
    I like this idea. =)

    To God be all glory,

  3. Marilyn Moll says:

    Awesome, Laura. Way to go!

  4. Natalie says:

    Sounds like a great idea, Laura! Between keeping up with each of their first-year scrapbooks, baby books, and monthly ‘letters’ I write to them, I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with all that, but maybe I’ll find some time to write down some ideas from time to time! :o) I love the idea of having something to hand down to our kids one day! I hope that we will be the type of parents that they would love to hear and learn all sorts of stuff from us, even years from now! Plus, writing it down now means we won’t forget it later on, which is really important for me considering how much I’ve already forgotten about Daniel’s first few months, as I’m figuring out with Lydia now!

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