In the Know – Investments with Big Dividends

My investment: five days. My return: unmeasureable.

This past weekend I took my daughter, Madi, for her 13th year trip. The 13th birthday trip is a tradition our family began with our oldest five years ago. The purpose: for that child to have the undivided attention of one parent doing what they enjoy while we pour into them love and wisdom mixed with laughter.

One gift that we have given to our kids on this trip is a book filled with words of encouragement from those who care for them most: parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, coaches and friends. I ask these special people to handwrite a note conveying words of worth and wisdom that will help our child through the teen years. For my son, the letters were put in a leather bound book. For my girls, I chose scrapbooks that reflected their personality. Here is a picture of Madi’s:

As Madi read these notes, she made the comment, “Wow, these people really care about me.” She spent over an hour, reading and looking up verses in her Bible that had been shared with her.

I have seen both of my other children over the years reflect back on these creations. Maybe in a rough time, the words have been able to give perspective and hope.

Do you have a teen in your life who needs a deposit of hope and encouragement in their lives? Might a weekend away with you or a book of supportive words be exactly what your student needs to help them through a trying time? This would make a great graduation, sending off to college or birthday gift. You don’t need to write a whole book either. If you are a grandparent, aunt or uncle or friend, a powerful letter might the Lord’s way of speaking to that student in your life.

Just think what might happen if every teen had a least one person in their lives who believed in them; who helped to point them in the right direction. There is no doubt that our schools, our churches and our communities might really be different places.



  1. What an incredible idea! Love it. Recently my son's elementary school did something for the kids who had to be tested. Each kid received a personalized, encouraging note from their teacher the day before the test. I heard that it touched a lot of kids. 🙂

  2. What a fabulous idea! For my my son a book of his character traits coupled with a Bible verse. I like the idea of the time away, too. My daughter is about to turn 11, so I am going to tuck this idea away for her!! Thank you. Blessings!

  3. This is fabulous! My middle child will not be 13 until 2013 – so tell me how to remember this idea!
    The trip in itself if wonderful, but the notes make it very special. My oldest child is 19, and I remember that when she was a sophomore in high school, one teacher had the students write a short note to every other student in that class. She was so excited as she read each note – and kept them in her journal. When she was a senior in high school, I took her on a trip for spring break – just she and I while hubby stayed home with the other kids. To me, it was just a last fling together before college, but several of her friends' parents told me how she had talked about it with their kids – and how good she felt that Mom would do this just with her. (And my other children enjoyed their special time with Dad, too!) Another question: how do you decide which parent takes the child away?

  4. Crystal,
    How to remember? Maybe try printing out this post 🙂
    In our family, the parent that is the same sex takes the child (we have 1 boy and 2 girls).

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