Traditions are very powerful things we can use to build our families. Since we have just celebrated Christmas, I thought I would share a tradition I started with my family many years ago that takes place for us at this time of the year. In fact, it has turned out to be one of the most significant things I have done to lead and invest in my family!
What is it? The last gift under the tree for each person in my immediate family is a letter I have written to them individually and personally. In each letter, I look back and reflect on the past year in the life of that person. I hit the highlights of their year, challenges and the things for which I am proud of them. I conclude the letter by looking forward to the next year taking into consideration things that I know are on the horizon for each person. Concluding in this way also is my opportunity to “call up” each person in the major areas of their lives so that they can excel still more.
A significant part of our tradition is that I read the letter out loud to each person in front of the whole family. This has proven to be a great way for me to honor each person, especially my wife and lead my family. In fact, this is the gift that each person looks forward to receiving the most.
This simple tradition has been very meaningful to me, and it is always hard for me to read each letter. I often tear up as I read, but that is part of what has made this tradition work. Everyone can see how heart-felt my words are.
For all dads, I would encourage you to give it a try. I have done this on birthdays and other occasions, but we landed on Christmas as our tradition. Pick a time that works best for you and your family.
A final blessing from this tradition has been the joy of seeing other dads implement this idea over the years and the impact has been amazing. It is not uncommon for me to hear from the wives telling me how appreciative they were to see their husbands lead in this way.
It is not too late to invest in your family by trying this on New Years Day!
Following Jesus with you,