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A few years ago, one of our Deacons mentioned the fact that he had started writing letters to his children for each of their birthdays.  As he explained the joy of doing it along with the long-term benefits for the kids, I was hooked.  “Think of it”, he said, “how much would you love to read a letter from one of your great-grandparents, grand parents or parents?”  Yes!

So, I’ve taken up the task.  The children’s birthdays are a great reminder to stay on track and as the kids have gotten older, they now help “remind” me that I owe them a letter, as their big day approaches.  I’ve written about seven letters so far and made it the custom to print them and read them to the recipient on their birthday, just the two of us.  It’s been a precious thing to watch my shy daughter blush and try to hold back a smile.  It was quite a surprise when one of my sons, after reading the letter quite unemotionally, then proceeded to practically jump into my arms, his eyes filled with tears.  The younger two are relatively unresponsive so far, although they enjoy the one-on-one time with Dad.  Below is an example of one of the letters.  It’s by no means any kind of standard and I know every parent’s letter will look different.  If you chose to jump on board with doing this, don’t think that my letter and it’s content are by any means exhaustive either.  Each year, the letters contain different topics or things from life that I want to emphasize.  Below is just one example.

If you’re older, just imagine sitting one day and reading through personal letters from your parents after they are gone.  How much would you enjoy that?  There are many more reasons to write to our kids, but if this image in your mind helps motivate you, then so be it.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this practice as well.  Does anyone else out there make this a yearly habit?

Anna’s 2009 birthday letter from Dad