In a world where almost all communication is digital, what does it mean to you when someone takes the time to write you a handwritten letter? If something is rare, it becomes more valuable. Children who are raised today grow up with text messaging, DMs, Snapchat, BeReal and TikTok. They actually struggle to check email when they go to college or enter the work world and discover that people still use such archaic methods. So a handwritten note is completely foreign. But because of that, it is intensely personal.
When our kids were young, our church used a curriculum that came with a packet that parents could purchase every month that included dinner table discussions, bed time discussions, fun episodes to listen to in the car and then discuss, and one other really important item - a couple of note cards. Those note cards were designed for you to put in your kids’ lunch boxes with some encouraging words to let them know that you are proud of them, or that you are praying for them, or remind them of important truths. This became a regular habit for us and it may have been one of the most important things we did with our kids.
This was a concept that someone must have impressed on me even before we had our first child, because I was already in the habit of writing an annual letter to my kids on their birthdays every year. I would tell them a little of what their year was like. I would tell them how much I loved them. I would tell them the things I was seeing God do in their lives. I would tell them the prayers that I had for them. And I saved them for their 13th birthday and gave them all their letters at that point. After that I would write them a letter on occasions like their High School graduations, or when they headed off to college, or when they got married. I tried to make sure that I took the the girls on regular “Daddy Dates,” where I would take just one of them out for some activity or meal. I would make a point to have a “Daddy Date” around their 13th birthday where I would give them their letters.
I’m so thankful for the influences that pushed us as parents to write notes and letters to our kids (notes should come from mom and dad, not just mom). Today, kids may save texts or emails from their parents if something meaningful was communicated in them. And we should fire off encouraging texts to our kids. But let’s be honest, with all the digital clutter, it’s easy for those to get lost or deleted. But your kids will hold on to the letters and notes you have written to them. They will reread them at times when life is hard.
So consider getting into this habit. Can you imagine what will go through your child’s mind when they open that lunchbox and see an encouraging note? Can you imagine what it would mean for them to have an annual letter that talks about how you’ve seen them grow in their relationship with God and as a leader?
P.S. One more important note - don’t write your notes in cursive. They don’t teach that anymore - lol.