Pen, Paper, and Parenting Power

Guiding kids to living by noble values is one of many parenting jobs.  Parents accomplish this in different ways.  Some teach by example.  Many find windows of opportunities for meaningful discussion.  These are excellent methods, but I wonder if they lose their effectiveness when they are used day in and day out.  What kind of impact could we have on our kids if we wrote to them? After attending a Bat Mitzvah last year, I found myself profoundly moved by the power of written messages.  Of course, I read powerful scripts from various sources on a routine basis, but this was different.  Loving parents used a major milestone in their daughter’s life to deliver two sayings that could impact her forever.  They were not only presented to her, but printed for all guests, on the event’s official program.  My copy found its way to a permanent home on my refrigerator door where it continues to inspire me in more ways than one.  Not only do I appreciate the values and motivation, the idea itself encouraged me to pass on written messages to my own child… even if there wasn’t a momentous occasion.  

When writing to our kids, we do not always have to use famous quotes or sayings.  Sentiments from a loving heart and common sense guidance from worldly parenting experience can be easily imparted with pen and paper.  I utilize blank note cards or comical greeting cards to convey not just my love, but the guiding principles I’d like my own son to know.  Some kids will store these messages in a safe place. Others may stuff them in a desk drawer or wedge them into a book.  Rest assured that even if your kids don’t seek out the cards, they will eventually find them, read them, and be reminded of what you shared.  So consider what impact you can have by writing to your kids.  Hand written messages at birthdays, holidays, special occasions, or just as a surprise in the mail can carry strong guiding principles.  Why not use them as a parenting tool if not even a legacy?

Here are the messages I mentioned earlier.  When you’re done reading them, please leave your comments.  Inspire us with ways in which you’ve impacted your own kids by penning messages.

In this life, be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. 

Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak Kindly…

Leave the rest to God.  Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

Choose this day to not simply be alive, but to LIVE.     ~anonymous~


Start doing the things you think should be done, and start being what you think society should become.  Do you believe in free speech?  Then speak freely.  Do you love the truth?  Then tell it.  Do you believe in an open society?  Then act in the open.  Do you believe in a decent and humane society?  Then behave decently and humanely.  ~Adam Michnik~