Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Sadly today there has been a falling away of writing as a family activity, one that traditionally maintained close-knit ties amongst family members throughout the generations. Do we make peace that such things are in the past and settle for instant messenger greetings and sending funny gifs on whats app?
Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for those quick communication tools, but that's not what I am talking about, I am talking about having a vision when it comes to writing.
It takes a certain kind of word lover to understand what I am talking about here and if that's not you, then I am afraid I won't be able to convince you. But if you "get it" read on...
I can't think of a greater gift to give our children than wise words written down. Here in the Rodriguez house, we have implemented a new tradition, a new favorite of mine, and all in "Our House."
Perhaps you too sense a need to give them your words as I do. Deep down you are seeking a way to stay connected beyond the fleeting window between childhood and their independent life..that let's face it, will be a separation from yours.
We recently started to express this need in a comforting way, a series of sketches or pictures, labeled "When I Was Your Age" and captioned with a sentence or two of what it was like to be seven or twelve, back when my husband and I were children.
Our goal from now on is for not one Christmas or Birthday to pass without each child receiving a framed cartoon or picture filled with a few sentences of nostalgia. Don't think for a moment, that all of these pictures have to be uplifting or positive. In fact, sometimes the picture and caption can read things like, "I had lonely moments too: everybody does." Perhaps there is a tough lesson you had to learn and a picture depicting the consequences, can in fact be worth a thousand words.
Maybe you think that such a gift would just be tossed to the side compared to the "real" material gift they requested or you purchased for them. However, you have no idea how they will be treasured when they grow up. I have read of another family who started this tradition and the kids would not part with even the crudest "When I Was Your Age" for any sum in the world. Their own distant hallways lined with their favorite "When I Was Your Age" for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
Here is the vital truth that they evoke: I belong, I am loved, I am a central figure in that most cherished human institution called a family.
Those silly little sketches I hope will amuse my descendants for generations to come.
Writing is a vital business and a way to keep families close and thriving. Writing also eliminates the constraints of time that we are limited by and propels us into a vast larger dimension of time. Write to your family now, and you are inadvertently writing to your future family. The best way for a family to perpetuate itself is through writing.
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