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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Letters From Dad

I recently joined a project team. No, not at the office, working on some meaningless plan to reduce interoffice mail. Or to create an award system for employees who keep their desk in order and monitors clean. This is actually a project team through my church, with the intention of building a written legacy for my family.

Letters From Dad is a movement that was started in Texas several years back by Greg Vaughn. He poses the question to men everywhere, "If you died today, what could your children hold in their hands that would let them know that they were the treasure of your heart?" Wow, a powerful and slightly morose question. However, think about it. What do you have, which is tangible and lasting, that tells you how your father feels about you and what was/is most important in his life? His expectations, his dreams, his faith. My father is still with us but even so, if you are like me, I have memories of distant conversations and nothing more. That's the power of letters from Dad.

I have been given four assignments:
  1. Write a letter to my wife (I just completed this and it was a Valentines hit, I tell you)
  2. Write a letter to each of my children
  3. Write a letter to my parents
  4. Write a "legacy" letter, only to be opened upon my death

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on my progress. With my first assignment completed, I'm now focusing my efforts on the letters to each of the girls. The point is not to stop with the letters above, but to keep it going for a lifetime. As a man, I find it frightening to completely lay myself out there in a letter, but if the results are anything like Leslie's response last week, then I'll continue to do just that.


Rick said...

Your blog and that moleskine will be keepsakes, too. My kids pop onto my site often - keeps me humble and at least pg-13, I hope. But anything you can leave as a legacy that moves them positively along, I think that's a good thing.

Alan said...

Good point, Rickwell. The written word will certainly outlast memories.

Rick said...

No no - it'll just make it easier for them to remember the sarcastic parts :)

Ferdlings said...

That's a great idea... Since my son's been around, all of 14 months, I've thought about just that and my relationship with my father. I have many thoughts that they both should know. Maybe I oughta jot them down in case I get hit by a bus.

Steve said...

What a GREAT idea. I started a journal about 6 years ago with the goal of sharing my thoughts, hope, and dreams for my sons. I let it drop off after about a year. This post was just the boost I needed to crank it up again. I like the letter idea, too. Nice post, Alan.

Todd said...

Good stuff, Dook.

George said...

Does your death letter say "If I die under suspicious circumstances, do not trust anyone...especially George."?

Alan said...

I have decided to end my final legacy letter with the following statement. "Gotcha! Look behind you for a big surprise!"
Always keep 'em guessing is my motto.