Writing Letters to Your Son

AoM reader Bob Pearce sent me this email, which I thought I’d post up here, as I think it’s a very nice idea:

“I really enjoyed reading George Patton’s letter to his son.  I have been thinking for some time about the way I communicate with my son and with my grandson.  My father passed away four years ago and I have nothing that he wrote.  He never wrote me a letter nor I him.  I would cherish a letter written to me from my late father.  I have, for the past year, written a monthly letter to both my son and my grandson.  The letters are not about important or historic events.  They are about the things I think were important that perhaps we didn’t take the time to really talk about.  I hope in future years, they will refer back to the letters when they want to know what I would think or what I would do in a certain situation.  I hope they will find something of value in them to help them in their own decisions.  I hope they will remember how much I admired, loved and wanted the best for them.”

 

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

adamsimon September 20, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I started writing letters to my son before he was born. Mostly the way some people write blogs. Just in case something happens to me before we get to talk about he and I and us. Like emotional insurance.

Bobcat September 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I am a father who lives a fair distance from his son who lives with his whom I separated from several years ago. I also work on industrial construction projects that keep me on location in remote areas for long periods of time. When he was young I started a journal to write about our time together, my thoughts on things in the moment as well as a bit of a personal view into his old mans life. Once he is old enough to read I will send him letters as well to read. The journal I hope to fill and give to him when the timing is right in his early adulthood and hope it means as much to him to read as it does to me to write.

Matthew W September 20, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I’ve had this idea, as well. I think that I’m going to write every year, on my future son’s birthday, several letters to give him at different points in his life (16th bday, 18th, 21st, when I die, when he marries, etc.).

Kevin September 21, 2011 at 2:43 am

I’m a son, who recently wrote a letter to my father. I’ve had one of the greatest fathers anyone could hope to have, but I wondered whether he knew just how much I loved and appreciated him. For 27 years, he’s poured his life into me and my brothers! I couldn’t bare the thought of him passing away without me telling him just how much I love and respect him. Writing that letter was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. And I know him appreciated it too! Now, that I’m going to become a dad, I’m going to pick up on the comments above and start writing to my children as well. Can’t wait for the letters to start flowing…

Jason H September 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

For my son’s first birthday I bought a bottle of Bushmill’s Black and had all of the folks at his party write him notes for his 21st Birthday to keep in the container. I took the opportunity to write my son a letter say all the thigns I could think of that I would want him to hear or know about being a man and put it in there as well as a sort of insurance policy in case I was ever not there to tell him myself. I was a very difficult and emotional thing to do but I hope that in 20 years when he opens it I’ll be there to witness it and toast to his future.

Swimmerman September 22, 2011 at 7:00 am

I write my sons a letter weekly. I write them on nice stationary, note cards (I am in the process of getting some custom letterpressed ones from a local print shop), or photos of things that we have done together that I have printed into postcards (this can be done online through most photo processing places). I mail my letters as my kids love to get ‘real’ mail in the mailbox. It is a surprise for them.

In my notes I always tell them that I love them, that they are growing and learning to be solid men, and that I am proud of them.

I don’t expect they truly appreciate the letters yet, and I don’t care. Some day they will. What matters is that I am mentoring them to be great men, fathers and husbands.

Dave M September 27, 2011 at 11:25 am

Thank you Gentleman, you have inspired me to begin writing letters to to my sons and to my father.

kenny September 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I have been asked to be a Godfather by two different friends. One couple is having a boy, the other: a girl. They are both due shortly, in October. With no children of our own, I would like to start doing this for my godchildren and perhaps I can get my wife involved, as well. I started thinking about this the other day, when I saw a commercial showing a dad creating an email account for their newborn and sending emails for every occasion. Almost made me a bit misty thinking of the emotional impact this could have on a young adult. Truely priceless.

John G September 28, 2011 at 11:10 am

Just tonight, I came back to this great website and thought to pass a link onto my son (one of the manvotionals) – he may or may not think that it is corny, but I suspect that he will relate to the whole thing – then I came across this thread – wow! – why didn’t I think of it – thanks, everyone for opening my eyes, but at least they are now open .. I have a 31 yr old son, and an 8 yr old son and two stepsons in between (and a beautiful daughter, too) and I am definitely going to be writing to them all on a more regular basis .. I guess that it takes a site like this to make us realise that we might just need to slow down and think about what is important, rather than be so busy that we can’t take the time.

What an important thing it is that we, as fathers can do to tell our kids things in writing. We are always so busy thinking that they hang on our every word, but we never thing that they might rather hang onto something on paper .. which is a true memory.

Thanks, gents!

PETER H. ZUNIGA September 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

don’t just write letters to your father or son, tell them how you feel and how much you love them. i am left with just writing letters to my son. he is doing a 34 years to life prison sentence and i’m lucky if i get to see him twice a year. he’ll be 35 years old this october and he’s been in prison since he was 18 years old. that’s half his life. i have all the letters i care to recieve from my son, 17 years worth. i’d rather have my son. love letters straight from his heart, keep us so near while apart. i’m not alone in the night when i can have all the love he writes. i memorize every line and i kiss the name that he signs and i read again right from the start, love letters straight from his heart… daddy loves you, mijito. like a rock…

Susan October 2, 2011 at 12:40 am

I am ‘just’ a girl, a quite senior ‘girl’ at that, who finds AoM a valuable source of information and inspiration. This post about letters to my son has touched me. Looking back I have only one heartfelt letter from my father; to me it is a treasure.. Looking forward I understand that I need to offer the same to my sons. email easily corrupts connections, emotional and otherwise. Best to expose one’s heart, goals, dreams and praise.

A few years ago a seat neighbor on a flight to somewhere confided that he’d spent hours writing to his daughter and that it was the hardest letter he’d ever had to write. So don’t let any of us be in that position of writing from quilt or regret. Let us all write from a position of joy and hope founded on truth. Let’s give all our children, girls and boys, all our best – even if we don’t (or can’t) express it verbally.

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