This year at Proverbs 31 Ministries’ She Speaks conference, I had the privilege of meeting Tracey Finck. Tracey also has a heart to invest in young women; I have asked her to be my guest blogger today while I am traveling home from a “Revolutionary Love” conference.
By Tracey Finck
Well, another school year has begun! Doesn’t it seem like just last year your girl was starting kindergarten?
How soon will you be sending her off to college or the big wide world? Very soon! And when that time comes, you’ll want to send her with something meaningful to remember you by, something to help her always know she is loved.
When our oldest daughter left for college, she packed—along with her purple gooseneck floor lamp and her stack of music CDs—a spiral-bound yellow book whose cover featured a smiling bumble bee and the words BEE HAPPY. It was an empty book I had filled for her with notes about herself: funny things she said, happy moments we shared, nice things I heard others say about her, quotes I thought she might want to remember, and true stories about challenges she overcame. It’s a make-shift book written in whatever color pen was within reach, illustrated with a few snapshots that show Betsy in her best light and some mementos from our shared lives.
That journal took years to fill, but only cost me about 10 or 15 minutes at a time, maybe once or twice a month.
For that small investment, both she and I have been made rich.
One morning, a few months after she left for college, Betsy called. She hadn’t been able to sleep the night before, what with roommate troubles and deadlines on assignments and no boyfriend in sight and doubts about her major—not to mention homesickness. So in the middle of the night she quietly climbed down from her bunk bed, grabbed her Bee Happy book, and went out into the dorm hallway. She sat on the floor, leaning against the wall, reading her book of notes from me. On those pages she found proof that she was loved and lovable, she found evidence that she had overcome problems in the past. She was reminded of her strengths and beauty. She saw herself through the loving mirror of my eyes. After reading halfway through the journal and having a good cry, she felt peaceful enough to go back to bed and get some sleep.
In the morning she called to thank me. It was one of those meaningful moments that make me glad to be a mother.
I keep a journal for each of our three children. It keeps me focused on the meaningful moments so they don’t get lost in the daily grind.
Today why not put on your errand list to pick up a notebook or journal you could use to start collecting details from daily life and words of encouragement you want your daughter to remember.
Tracey Finck is the author of Love Letters to a Child and a former parenting columnist for the Brainerd Daily Dispatch. Check out her blog at www.TraceyFinck.com.
Today, I am giving away a copy of Tracey’s book Love Letters to a Child. To enter, just click on comments below and share how you think your child would respond to a special journal for him or her. I will announce the winner on Wednesday’s Wisdom Tips!
Tomorrow I will post a special video by Tracey as well so be sure to stop back!
My daughter would love this.
Karie, I just started one for my girls. When Madi found out I one just for her she couldn’t believe it!
Tracey Finck says
I hope you’ll try it and let me know how she responds:)
I love the idea of sharing such a special message with young women through this journal, especially when I think back to my own college years when I really could have used such a tangible message of love.
This idea could translate well in marriages, too. So try it out with your kids and get a notebook for sharing messages with your spouse, too!
I love the husband idea, Hope! It would be especially good if your husband’s love languge is words of affirmation.
Tracey Finck says
Great idea! Everyone needs affirmation and personalized encouragement.
Sometimes the smallest investments of time yield the largest cummulative result. Thanks so much for sharing Tracey’s wonderful idea with us. This is one we all can do!
I love this idea! My own mother made a life book for me – similar to this – but I love the ongoing idea of this. I’m starting today.
Sherry Payne says
Love that! I’m going to get started quickly. Would like to be entered in the contest for the book, too. Thank you!
What an amazing idea!! I really think both my children would love to have something they could pull out from time to time and know they were/are loved so very much. I also like the idea of the notebook/journal for the spouse. It seems we get so busy sometimes with everything else, we forget to let our spouse and children know how much we love them. This would help me stop and take a few moments to focus on each one individually.
Thank you for the idea! I would love to read the book, it sounds wonderful!
Oh my goodness, my kids would LOVE LOVE LOVE this. My oldest daughter struggles with some ADHD tendencies that can get her on a downward spiral of doing nothing right. And then we have good days where she is helpful, and lovable and funny! It’s so easy to forget those days and be frustrated. I WILL do this! We always think we will remember (or is that just me?) those funny, cute, courageous and proud moments – and our memory fades like an old picture. You can kind of tell who is in the picture, where it was taken, how old they are, and the colors are a little distorted, but oh, to turn that picture over and have written down who it is, when it was, where it is – the light bulb goes on! I want to remember all those things – and help my kids remember how much they are loved!!!!! What a great idea, thank you for sharing. XOXO
Tracey Finck says
You really captured the importance of writing it down so we don’t forget. We ALL tend to forget the things that really matter. Being intentional about remembering is a gift to our future selves–and our kids future selves.
I think my kids would love this!!! Thank you for the idea!!!!! need to get busy on this!
Lynn W says
This is a wonderful idea! I only have five more years until she’s gone, so I better get a goin’!
Tracey Finck says
Just think how wonderful it is that you have five whole years left. But yes, those years will go quickly. I’m happy that you’re getting started. Have fun, and remember to renounce perfectionism. ANY love letter is better than no love letters.
Oh my goodness! My kids would LOVE LOVE LOVE this! You know, we all have good days and bad days – and we always say (or is it just me?) that I will remember a cute, funny, or courageous moment, but I don’t… our memories fade like old pictures where you can vaguely remember who, when and whare about the picture, but it’s so great when you turn the picture over and all the details are on the back! I WILL do this! It’s a fabulous idea – thank you so much for sharing!!
The memories do fade…let’s preserve them!
Antonette M says
@Lynn W, I have 5 more years with my youngest daughter as well…we can do this! @ Tracey thanks for the encouragement and the reminder to renounce perfectionism, that is my struggle and the reminder that ANY is better than none! Thanks! I was even thinking of gettinng one going for my grown daughter as well!
Antonette, I like the idea that it is never too late to start!
Lucy Sanguinetti says
Oh, how I love to talk to my kids about this…especially my Abbie!!!! Abbie is our middle child, and the one who compares herself with her older brother and younger sister. When she was having a tough time recently, I gave her a letter that I had written to my husband on our 1st anniversary….April 1987. In that letter, I spoke of all of the things that I couldn’t wait to share with him….one of those things was to have a daughter named Abigail Dianna Sanguinetti! I showed that to Abbie, who was born in Jan. 1993!!!! 6 years later!!! I told Abbie that her brother and sister were definitely God’s gifts to her dad and me……and we loved them very much. But SHE was our specific answer to prayer….we had called her by name for over 6 years and asked God to give us an Abigail Dianna and God heard our prayer. She was so touched to have it worded that way! All of our children are treasures from God…..but she was a specific prayer…with a name…..called out to God!
Wow Lucy! What a beautiful story!
Katie Seest says
What an encouraging idea! Wish I’d done this sooner for my 3 who are now 7, 10, & 13, but if I start now I know for a fact that they would each love it (and 2 of them are boys). This would be a neat baby gift idea for a new parent too – a special journal for them to write for that child. I know those kinds of words can be from God’s heart to ours.
Katie, Terrific baby gift idea! The two I have left at home are 17 & 14 but I’m still getting started!
Rhonda S. says
My children would absolutely love the idea that I could give them such an invaluable gift!! I can’t wait to get started!
Aren’t you so glad that God had my path cross with Tracey’s at She Speaks? I am!
Tracey Finck says
I am, too! I’m so blessed to know of this community of mothers who are committed to empowering wise daughters who KNOW they are loved–what a gift!
What an amazing idea!! I love it. My 13-year-old daughter and I have a hard time with verbal communication, so I love the idea of being able to write to her and let her know how much she is loved!! My daughter actually writes me lots of notes when she can’t explain what she’s thinking, so this fits her perfectly. Thank you for this message and opportunity!
Debra, For a short time I used a book that went back and forth between my son and I in order to communicate. I sure wish I had kept it up. It probably would have helped when we hit the really rough times.
What a great idea! I have three girls and my oldest will be leaving for college in two short years – yikes! She loves to journal, so this would be especially meaningful for her.
Debbie, Don’t these years go too fast! I have one who leaves in two short years to! We need to embrace this time!
My dear daughter would appreciate this most I think. I did something similar for each of my six kids’ first two years and those notebooks are truly a treasure. Tracey, I love that you replied above that I should renounce perfectionism. I think even that is a message to our sweet children that no one is perfect, but despite that we still can encourage and inspire each other.
Emily, I was convicted that I need to be sure that everything in the book is not about what they did and to be sure to include many things about who they are!
Shawnia Holler says
Thank you so much for sharing. What a great idea! My daughter Sadie is 12 years. Old. I am really big about leaving her notes hear and there. She truly enjoys them. My husband and I are blessed with an amazing girl, who places Jesus first in here life and understands His love and forgiveness. I know Sadie would LOVE to have a notebook filled with Scriptures and notes for when she leaves home. I know it would be very comforting to her. I am going to start this week making her one. May God bless you in all you do. With love and prayers, Shawnia. Phil.4:13
I love the idea of adding scripture to it as well for Sadie! Thanks Shawnia!
Karen R. says
Wow what a terrific idea! I think this is something I could do! It is not easy to express myself to my children or really anyone and I have so worried about this and prayed to get over this, but writing it down…WOW….I can do that!!! I have sporadically put notes in their lunch box and have occasionally left a note on the white board in their room but I think this would have such a lasting impact. I want them to know that just because I have some emotional hang ups that emotions are a normal important part of life! I want them to know how much I love them and how proud I am to have them in my life. Thanks for such a terrific idea!!!
I absolutely love this I have a zoo to be 15 yr old girl that I am about to do passport to purity on our birthday weekend. I also have 2 bonus girls (I don’t like the word “step) that I think would love this since hteyve been with just dad most of their life because of bad choices that mom had made. I thinks this is great and it would be something special that could just be for us. Love!! Love!!love it!!
Ok that was suppose to say “soon” not zoo ohh autocorrect 🙂
What a wonderful idea that God has given Tracey in writing” Love Letters;” to our children. I have the book and have slowly put into practice. I wish I had had this when our children were born because there were so many things I wish I could remember from when our kids were little, but like Tracey says we are just to start where we are and do not demand perfection of our writing and journals. I have 4 journals started, one for each of our children. I did not send the journals with our 2 college students , but continue to add things that are current or things that God brings to mind from the past:) Our oldest child reads it every time she is home. She will often comment ‘”I can see you have been quite busy since I have been gone.” When I ask how she knows that she says,”cause you haven’t entered much in my journal.” She LOVES to read about herself from someone who loves her soooooooooooooooooo much! Thanks Tracey for your book and inspiration! It is a special treat!!!!
Heidi, Thanks for posting this today. I bought the books and have put one entry for each of my girls but haven’t done any since! I really want to make this a priority. Your comment today reminded me to do just that!