HOW OFTEN do you tell your children how you really feel about them?
Even if the answer is: "all the time", it's fun to write a letter to your child at least once a year to express your love and pride, as well as the ongoing hopes and dreams you have for their future. Not sure how to get started? Here are seven specific words you'll want to include:
l Love - Of course, you want to tell your child how you feel. Even if "I love you" is something you say every day, the message is conveyed differently when the words are shared in writing.
You might - for example - say: "It's hard for me to describe much I love you" or "Being your parent has been one of the greatest gifts in my life". Or, "There's nothing that could ever change how I feel about you."
l Notice - Share what you've noticed recently about your child. How has she grown? What positive characteristics do you see emerging? such as the generosity your son has for his siblings, the kindness your daughter shows her friends, or the maturity you've witnessed in how your child handles conflicts.
l Enjoy - Describe what you enjoy doing together. This will mean a lot to your child, and it will help put the letter into context when he or she reads it again in the years to come, like: Playing games, cooking together, or reading together.
l Proud - Be specific when you describe what makes you proud.
This is something we all long to hear, and the words will be like nourishment to your child when he or she re-reads the letter years from now. You might express pride in your child's interpersonal relationships, academic progress and or work ethic, or athletic abilities.
l Cherish - In your letter, share a few memories that mean a lot to you personally. Your stories will communicate truth in a way that's more memorable to your child than any singular compliment.
For example, you might include memories of a shared vacation, an observation you'll never forget, or the memory of a time when you realised your child had grown.
l Hope -Take the time to share your highest hopes in your letter, and include your hopes for your child's friendships, your hopes for your child's own observations of his or her talents.
l Believe - This is an opportunity to share your confidence in your child, as well as the beliefs that continue to motivate you personally. You might include your own convictions about his or her future, a Bible verse that speaks to this time in his or her life, or a quotation that has touched you personally. - More on this is available at www.about.com.