Write a letter to your child on their birthday. Be personal, specific, and uplifting. Write of what made you proud the past year of their life or what moments you fondly remember most. Start young and make it a tradition!
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Not simply writing in a card.
Not something that you thought of as you were writing it the night before their birthday.
A well thought-out, intentional letter.
Right now, get out your phone. On the calendar app of your phone, create a reminder for two weeks prior to your child's birthday. Then, set the reminder to repeat yearly without an end date.
Every year, two weeks before your child's birthday, you will now get this reminder. Take that two weeks to reminisce. Look back at photos from the past year to remind you of special times you may have already forgot. Think about the moments you felt proud, joyful, scared, or loved. Jot them down. Share these thoughts with your child. Let them know how much you love them and how much they mean to you. Put those thoughts into definitive words on a page.
When they are young, it probably won't mean much to them. I mean, lets be real, it won't come close to competing with a toy or video game they got. But don't get discouraged. Keep at it. Get to the point where it's expected. Eventually, it will get to where they look forward to it, where it would be a let-down if they didn't receive it.
Image your child now in college, sitting in a dorm/apartment by themselves one afternoon. It's their first birthday away from home and they receive your letter. Imagine the joyful emotions brought on by your pin to paper. Imagine the smirks and chuckles as they read through your commentary of the past year. Feel their chest tightening and see their eyes swell as they read the words 'I'm proud of you'.
Be intentional. Create intentional moments that will bring you closer to your child.
It doesn't matter if your child is an infant or already out of the house, I encourage you to break out the pen and paper once a year.
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Related Intentional Moments:
Create a chain out of scraps of paper, write notes, thoughts, what you are thankful for, personal encouragement, what you love about your children, what you want to improve on as a father. Each day, make it part of your routine, sit down with your child, tear off the next chain in the link, and talk about what is written!