Several years ago I learned of a men’s ministry started by Greg Vaughn called Letters From Dad. Unfortunately the ministry/organization no longer exists (to my knowledge), but it still made a positive difference in my life several years ago, especially in my relationship with my daughter. Vaughn’s book by the same name is an excellent read. I was so inspired by what I learned about that ministry I purchased the training and encouraged a friend of mine to help bring the program to the church we attended. Since then I have had several of the dads come up to me later telling me they continued writing and how their letters blessed others.
Men sometimes have difficulty either expressing themselves or don’t take the time to say the things they should to the people they love. LFD (Letters From Dad) ministry taught men how to speak from the heart in written form. LFD taught men to start by writing four types of letters to four audiences; their children, wife and parents. The forth type of letter is the “final” letter. The purpose of this letter is to provide a means of expressing those important things to loved-ones and to create a legacy for future generations before the Lord calls you home. By no means is this post applicable to men only. It’s just that expression from the heart often requires men to step outside their norm and do that which comes naturally for women.
The great thing about writing is that it requires you to slow down. This slowing process better enables you to collect and organize your heart-felt thoughts in a meaningful form so they can be communicated in a special way on paper. Depending on the subject matter writing can be a from of meditation for me. An important thing you can experience in the slowing process is an increase in your ability to hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, frequently drown out by the distractions and pressures of the day. His voice becomes amazing clearer as temporal trivial distractions fade. The seemingly urgent becomes inconsequential while the important becomes captive in the forefront of your mind.
What happens to you in the writing process may have as much impact on you as what happens as others read your letter. You will be blessed by the experience and will have a new appreciation of what the “power of the pen” can mean (even though most use a computer to write today). Your heart might very well swell with emotions of pride, gratitude, thankfulness and love. One more than one occasion tears of joy have fallen from my cheeks in this wonderful process.
Another benefit of writing is that the end result is tangible, meaning thoughts are captured instead of traveling through air and gone once spoken. A kindly writing letter can become an important keepsake, something “concrete” to return to over and over again. Consider it similar a photo in an album, except it is a personal and an unchanging message from one heart to another.
The Christmas after starting LDF I gave each of my three children and my wife, Debbie, “Memory Boxes.” Each box is a well-made mahogany box with their name engraved on a brass nameplate and picture frame on the lid in which to slide a photo. Inside each box was their first personal letter to written on high quality paper in a matching envelope, sealed by a hot wax stamp as was traditional a couple centuries ago. I wanted every aspect about their letter they received to shout importance.
Since that initial presentation of their letter in their Memory Box, I continue to write letters on special occasions like the birth of my first grandson, marriage of my children, and during those times when life becomes a struggle and a letter of encouragement might be what the doctor ordered. The letters I write are to positively encourage or recognize them in some manner. My wife saves every letter I’ve given her safely in her Memory Box.
My Challenge to You
If you’ve read my previous post regarding Christmas, you’ll know where I’m headed. Here is my challenge and assignment to you, and I want your feedback. Instead of giving one of those classless gift debit cards hanging on an end-cap at a grocery store aisle, write a heartfelt letter to special people in your life. But make it special. Go to an office supply or stationary store and buy a package of fine linen stationery and envelopes; I recommend 24 lb. watermarked paper, the kind you would use for a resume. I like the ivory color as it is a little classier than plain white. Start with your significant other if you have one and if not someone else close to you that you love or respect. Write a simple letter where every paragraph starts with, “ I am blessed because you ……” Sign it, seal it and that’s it! You may find it doesn’t take long before you fill the page.
Since this is the age of the computer, I recommend working in a word processor as it allows for easy editing and correction. Print two copies. One copy is for the recipient and the other is for you to keep in a binder so you will have a record and reminder of what you previously wrote. This binder could serve as an important part of your legacy to future generations. Lastly, choose a nice font representing your personality; Arial and Times new Roman fonts are just too blah.
After you have presented your letter and they have responded I would truly appreciate you responding to this post and sharing your experience.
Greg Vaughn’s book it is available on amazon at the link below. It might be out of print but as of this writing but Amazon still has copies and it is available for the Kindle too.
In a future post I will delve more into how you can create a legacy for future generations by writing your “last letter.” This letter is for your survivors after God called you home and you can no longer communicate with those you love or your future generations.
Be well and be blessed, David