Birthday Letters

As I wrote in one of my Make The Move emails, we celebrate all 3 of our kids’ birthdays the last week of January.

  • Christopher’s birthday is January 28.
  • McKenzie and Kelsey’s birthday is January 31.

One of the things I do to Live It Forward and invest well in the lives of my kids is I write them each a birthday letter.  It started 3 years ago, and I told them that for as long as I’m alive, I’ll write them birthday letters. What this means is starting on January 1 of every year, I invest a lot of time and energy into writing birthday letters.

And do you know what I’ve discovered?

These letters do as much, if not more, for me than they do for my kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I know my kids appreciate these letters.  However, I think I appreciate writing the letters even more than they appreciate receiving them.  Why?  Because as I write, I appreciate each of my kids in a deeper and more meaningful way.  Sure, it’s a simple practice I started to add value to my kids’ lives and my relationship with each of them; but it’s ended up impacting my life more than I thought it would.  Amazing how that works!

One other quick thought.  After sharing my birthday letter strategy, I received dozens of emails asking me how I structure the letters.

Well, that’s a hard question to answer because I do something different each year.  This year, I took a simple approach.  I divide up the letter into two parts:

  • A Year in Review
  • Coming Attractions

So, for instance, Christopher started his freshman year of high school this past year, so I used a key word in each section of his letter that I thought related to his life right now.  Here’s basically what I wrote about:

A Year In Review I summed up this section of his letter with the word “firsts.”  I talked about all the “firsts” he had experienced this past year (i.e. starting high school, swimming for a high school team, joining Robotics Club, etc.).  I encourage him to see every year as an adventure filled with “firsts.”

Coming Attractions:  In this section, I focused on the word “choices.”  I explained all the different choices he will face in the next few years, and how real successful people realize that the BIG successes in life are the result of LITTLE, everyday choices they make.  Character choices, relationship choices, activity choices, thinking choices, spiritual choices, and more.  I let him know that I was completely available to help him think through all the choices he would be face with, but I also told him that these were his choices and encouraged him to take 100% responsibility for every choice he made.

Hopefully, this short explanation is helpful for you as you Live It Forward in your role as a parent and intentionally invest in the lives of your children.