Thirteen is an amazing year in a child’s life. So much is happening inside their bodies and brains, they often are picking up more responsibility at home and at school, and are desperately trying to understand who they are and how they fit.
As parents, we wanted to acknowledge all the changes and encourage our children as they crossed the threshold from child to teen. A few weeks before the thirteenth birthday, we sent letters to grandparents, teachers, mentors, pastors, coaches and friends – people who loved our child. In the letters we asked them to write our emerging teen and tell them what they see in them, how they pray for them, or a great memory of them. We were so thankful and impressed with the responses we got for all three children, some were hand written or included drawings, others were humorous or inspiring.
We placed the letters into a special scrapbook and decorated it with their favorite colors and interests, and presented the book to them on their birthdays. Our first child was completely surprised by the effort, but the other two were totally expecting to get their books!
I believe that these books are important because when one of our children gets down and feels like life isn’t what they thought it was supposed to be, they have a tangible reminder from the people who know them and love them most, as to who they are and where they are going.
Wow! What an excellent idea!! I love it! And even though I wouldn’t be able to make a book like that for about another 12 years (smile), I’d love to do something like that for my own children.
Twelve years, wow, you’re in the early years still! This just happened to be what worked for us, but there are so many ways you could do this earlier, too.