My favorite blogger is Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C. Here’s what he wrote today:
“When our kids were younger I started writing them annual letters. They were collections of cute things that our kids said and did. But I also tried to capture those moments that I believed were prophetic glimpses of who they were becoming. I’m sad that there are missing years, but I’m not going to allow the fact that I missed a few years keep me from picking the habit back up. As a dad, one of my roles is to function as a biographer for my kids. In a sense, my letters are their journals before they had the ability to write or remember.
It’s Summer’s birthday today and I’m writing her an annual letter. Letters force me to say what I mean and mean what I say. And they are something I envision her hanging on to and accumulating as the years pass. Honestly, I think they will be far more meaningful ten years from now. The letters take a backseat to the presents now. But someday the presents will take a backseat to the letters. I was really inspired to pick this habit back up a few weeks ago during a baby dedication at NCC. A new father sent me an amazing letter he had written to his son before he was born and it deeply impacted me. I imagined his son reading that letter when he turned 16 or 18 or 21.
The bottom line is this: parents are prophets. And we’ve got to find ways to speak faith, hope, and love into the lives of our children. An annual letter on their birthday is one way of doing it.”
I enjoy journaling. I really like journaling in written long-hand. As time moves on, there’s something about seeing words I have actually written recording thoughts, perspectives, emotions, challenges, life lessons learned and those being learned.
When my first son was born, I started a journal dedicated just to him. I did the same when my second son was born. It was my intention to record anectdotes, funny things they said, personality traits as they developed and thoughts I wanted to share with them that would speak wisdom into their life for future years.
As with Mark, sadly I have let quite a bit of time slip by without regularly spending a few moments further creating these most treasured archives. At the beginning, it was my intention to compile these over the years and present them to my sons on the occasion of their 18th or 21st birthday.
Reading Mark’s thoughts today have compelled me to pick up again this process of pouring my life into the lives of my children. I won’t worry about all that I’ve missed in recent months of neglecting this exercise, I’ll just choose to make a “course correction” today and journal. I have nothing of greater value to leave my children as a legacy of my love for them than words I record about our lives together and the men they are becoming as God leads their lives and they follow His plan and purpose for them.
One note: I will likely give way to technology and begin journaling electronically versus hand-written. I would rather maintain consistency and get the words out than worry about the manner in which they are recorded. Function over form.
Here’s Mark’s blog site if you want to check out his other posts: http://evotional.com/