I’m a terrible gift giver. Gift giving is not one of my love languages, and I don’t like to shop. But, I do get great joy by giving someone I love something they love.
A few years ago I started a tradition of letter writing to commemorate special events in our lives. Father’s Day is a great time for a letter.
Letters allow you to let someone know the impact they’ve had in your life. In our day of disposable communication–email, texting and snap chatting–letter writing is becoming a dying art.
A letter gives an avenue to express thoughts or feelings in a way that will last forever.
If your father is anything like my father or husband, he has all he needs and buys what he wants. So, a letter is a perfect gift.
Writing a letter can be intimidating, especially if you’re not in the habit of doing it. Here’s a simple template you to help you write a heartfelt Father’s Day letter:
- Start with a greeting.
- Begin by recalling the birth of your first child or when you told him you were pregnant. Describe his reaction or how you recall it making him feel.
- Remind him of a special time he shared with the kids or of the first time he held your child.
- Tell him how you feel when you see him with your children and why you are glad he’s their father.
- Tell him how proud you are of the father he’s becoming.
- Acknowledge he’s not perfect, but you can see how hard he tries.
- Remind him of your love and tell him that you will pray God gives him wisdom as the leader of your family.
Letters make great gifts. They’re:
- They are personal.
- They are specific.
- They are a great way to tell someone how you feel, express gratitude, or praise.
- They give you an opportunity to say something you might not otherwise say.
- They have historical value.
- They will be treasured for generations to come.
Letters last a lifetime. They can be enjoyed now but will also as part of his legacy. It may be the gift he’ll never forget. And you’ll be amazed at the “wow effect” your words can have on another person.
Sometimes I frame the letters, so my husband can hang them if he chooses as a constant reminder of my love, respect, and admiration of him (especially on days when it’s not so evident).
Or he can shove it in a drawer and pull it out from time to time.
Kids can write letters, too. If you begin this tradition when your kids are young, think of the treasure trove Dad will have in the years to come.
You can honor anyone with a letter for any occasion:
- Write letters to your kids on their birthdays.
- Write letters to your husband for your anniversary.
- Write letters to your parents.
- Encourage your children to write letters as well.
- Write letters for posterity’s sake. (So people after you’re dead people will know how you felt, what you thought, blah, blah, blah.)
Save the letters, put them in page protectors and place them in a binder along with a current photo, and you’ve just created a meaningful gift and a valuable piece of family history. It’s never too late to start.
So this year start a new tradition. Honor your dad, someone who’s been like a dad or someone you respect with a letter. Let him know how much you appreciate his example and how he’s impacted your life.
Begin building a letter writing legacy. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
A civilian journalist and former editor for the U.S. Army’s award-winning newspaper, The Cannoneer, Sheila Qualls is now a stay-at-home mom, writer, and speaker. She writes from the experience of 30 years of marriage, five kids, home schooling, ten corporate moves, and two dogs and a ferret. (May they rest in peace.) She shares her life through a window of humor and transparency, one awkward moment at a time at http://www.sheilaqualls.com.