Your home is the nest from which your children learn to fly. First they take short little flights—to a friend’s house and back again, to school and back again. Then the flights get longer—to college and back again or to travel and come back again. Then they build their own nests and only come to visit.
Our kids are 23, 20, and 17. Betsy has her own nest, Britta is temporarily nested at college, and Jack is stretching his wings for upcoming flights.
What will they take with them? Some memories, some habits, some values, some ideas about life, some type of self concept, some concept of God. There is a lot we’d like to send with them, but only so much fits in their backpacks.
One thing my kids take with them is the journal I’ve kept for them documenting the best moments of their childhood, telling them specific positive things I observed in their lives and in their character, letting them know how much they are loved.
This weekend I got a letter that made me smile. It was from Britta, who’s a junior in college. She’s a resident assistant in a freshman/sophomore dorm and just loves spending time with the 56 girls on her floor.
Here’s a quote from her letter: “I was at lunch with a sophomore on my floor, and I was telling her about the importance of allowing ourselves to be affirmed by God. As an example of how powerful it is, I told her about the book you wrote, and how it encouraged me in my growth. She looked at me in all earnestness and said, ‘WOW, Your MOM DID THAT FOR YOU!?’ It reminded me again how blessed I am.”
And Britta’s letter reminded me of the marvelous opportunity we have as parents to be the ones to equip our kids by sending them off with tangible evidence of our love in their backpacks.
I’d love to hear how your kids respond to your journaling for them or writing them love letters.