I just had a brilliant idea! I was reading Ali Edwards blog post this morning, and it really affected me. You can get to her blog and read her post by clicking on "Ali's Blog" on my side bar or clicking on this http://www.aliedwards.typepad.com/
To make a long story short, Ali's husband recently took their son Simon on a camping trip. While on this camping trip he wrote a letter to Simon telling him how very much he loves him. The letter truly brought tears to my eyes. I thought about all the children in the world that have never received a letter from their father telling them how very much he loves them. What about the moms in the world that have never written a note to their children telling them how very much they love them? I think the world would be a much different place if parents gave this small gift to their children. A gift that costs nothing but their time.
Words are so important. Words can more often than not, hurt people. They may have been provoked or said out of anger and frustration. They may have been misinterpreted or misunderstood. Words can kill a relationship. This is sometimes all a child ever hears from their parents. What a small existence this poor little child must feel.
A written letter is a bit different. Especially one written out of love. A letter is a tangible thing. It can be held, and touched. It can be read over and over. It can be saved for a lifetime. Writing your child a letter of love can help reconnect a tie that has been broken. In the book "To Train Up A Child" (Paul and Debi Pearl) they talk about reconnecting ties that have been severed. That a parent and child relationship consists of many ties or strings. Each time a conflict arises in which the child feels betrayed by a parent, a tie is severed. Some children get through childhood with only a few strings left. Rarely do children reach adulthood with all the strings intact. More often than not, all the strings are cut by the time a child reaches adulthood, and they are left feeling unloved and betrayed. These children (more often than not) go off and either find their own way while still holding onto a lot of resentment; start abusing drugs or alcohol; commit crimes; or worse. Some may simply treat their own children the way they were treated.
Is all hope lost if you are one of these parents? Maybe not. It is possible to reconnect each broken tie, one string at a time. Each time you say a loving word (one string is reconnected); each time you write a small note telling your child you love and respect them (one string is reconnected); each time you tell them you are proud of them (0ne string is reconnected). Get my point?
Being a child that was rarely told how much they were loved or respected, or even valued, I have tried to instill the fact that I love my children first and foremost, under God and my husband. I am a child that never received a letter from my parents telling me that they loved me, and neither was my husband. We were children of a younger generation. Children of children. Parents who were trying to find their way in the world themselves while bringing children into the world. Everything looked great on the outside, but gray on the inside. I am not saying that my parents did not do the best they knew how to do at the time, and I am very sure that my husband's parents did the the best they knew how to do at the time also. It was simply a different time than it is now. I don't feel that this is a good excuse, but do feel that people can only do what they are taught to do. There is so much more information these days on how to raise children. Lots of conflicting information as well, which leads to very confused parenting styles, and very disturbed children, but that's a post for another time.
So, my experiment is this. Starting this month, I will be writing a love letter to each of my children, hiding it in their bedroom. My teenager's bedroom is usually a mess, so he may not find all the letters I write, but at any rate, I'm still going to write them and post what I have written here. I will write each child a letter once a month for the coming year, hiding them throughout their room. So at the end of the year, they will each have 12 letters. These letters will never be mentioned unless they happen to bring them up, and even then I will just smile and say it's true. These letters to each child will reflect only positive things about them, explaining to them how much I love them. They won't say things like "I am so proud of you for .... but you need to work on ..." There is a time and place for these conversations, but this is not one of those times. Not a time to list past struggles, etc. Just a time to reflect love and admiration for that person. Scott has never been much of a writer, but I am hoping that he will jump on board as well. I want more than anything for my children to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my love for them is completely unconditional, and that I cherish exactly who they are, and who they are becoming.
There is so much bull in the world today. I just have to get this off my chest. Why do teachers tell students that they won't be able to get into a good college if they don't take certain prerequisite courses in high school? That AP courses are the only way to get into good colleges? What a line of horse manure. You may need 2 years of Algebra and 1 year of Geometry to get into a university, but you don't need to take those courses in high school. Many students attend a community college to complete the courses they need to get into a university. These have smaller class sizes and instructors that have more time to help a student. It may take the student a bit longer to get through college, but does it really matter?
Many students I went to high school with, who took college prep courses, and graduated with honors, flunked out of college the first or second semester. Even our Valedictorian flunked out the first year. One thing I learned in college was that it really doesn' t matter how old you are when you begin your degree. I also learned that it's more about your grade point average than it is about what college prep or AP classes you took in high school. I also learned that just because you have a college degree doesn't mean that you are hireable, so don't expect your dream job right out of college. So why tell students that everything is black or white? I feel that teachers, advisers, and parents should be honest to students and not tell them that their grades are not good enough for college, but instead, give them all the information so they can use it to their benefit. Many students are told that they are not college material. What a detriment to the student who realizes when he is 35 that this was not true. This student has given up a good portion of his life, changed his goals, all to start working in a lesser field he has no interest in. Shame on those people who are misleading our young adults. You can become a student at any age, and complete any goal you have for yourself at any age. Most likely, your goals will have changed some over the years.
My initial major in college was Art, and then I switched to Fashion Design. I found that I didn't enjoy art projects completed according to other people's standards. I lost the love for it. In fact, I found that I had formed more of a love for Art History, than Art itself. I then found that most people who majored in Fashion Design neither had a gift for drawing or sewing. Most of the girls and guys in my classes were "beautiful" bimbos that simply wanted an easy break into a modeling career. I have never worked in either of these fields, but have used what I learned in those classes many times throughout my life. I graduated with a Business Office Degree but found that I didn't like Corporate America. I found it stressful and a bloodbath to step on each other's toes to get to the top. Hated every minute of it. Ten years out of college, I found that I had a love of teaching. This led to 7 years employment at a public elementary school until my young ones were school age. Who knew that I would love doing that? Certainly not I.
By the time my middle child was ready for kindergarten, I began feeling the urge to homeschool. I think back to those years that I worked at the grade school and it all seems like a blur. I can't remember much from when H was a baby, or when E was tiny. It all went by so fast. That was my turning point. That was when I took a step back and saw my life flashing before me. I knew that I needed to be home with my kids. Now my days are slow, and joy-filled. I am where I am supposed to be at this time in my life. If I am 55 when I go back to work, so be it. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I was created to teach. What was your child created to be? Write them a letter telling them you love them. Great idea, Ali! Thanks for sharing.