This weekend we celebrated my father-in-law and mother-in-law’s birthdays. The family threw them a party. It included everything you would expect at a birthday party: games, gifts, cards, Sloppy Joes, cake, and ice cream.
But this year, the family decided to do one extra thing to ensure they knew how much they meant to us.
We wrote them each a book. Every child, in-law, and grandchild wrote a roughly one-page tribute. Each of us is different, so each tribute was unique. The reflections we had and the memories we talked about overlapped a little, but each came from our unique perspectives.
The writing was compiled and edited. Bound together and mailed to their house just before their actual birthdays.
Their reaction was just what you would expect. They were moved beyond words. The impact was exactly what we wanted. They felt appreciated and loved. They got to see in writing the impact they had on our lives.
Their reaction was only half the story. Because those of us who got to sit down and write the tribute got our own reward. As you can imagine, sitting down and writing to somebody you love is extremely emotional. As we wrote our tributes, we reflected on all they had done for us, how they shaped our character and made a difference in our lives changed us. We got to reflect on their impact. It made us relive in our minds some of the great memories we had with them.
Also, telling somebody how big of an impact they made on you and how much love and appreciation you have for them makes you reflect on what you are doing to impact others positively.
I would challenge you to write out (and hopefully send out) a tribute to somebody you appreciate and love. It doesn’t have to be because they reach a significant milestone in life. You will find it rewarding and refreshing.
It reminded me of a column from Wall Street Journal Sports Columnist Jason Gay. He said one of his goals for the year was to write a letter. He reiterated that his goal was to write at least one letter. He hoped he would get around to mailing it.
People like to get old fashion mail. Handwritten, heartfelt mail.
We all get so little meaningful mail that it is a treat when it happens.
You don’t need to lead the charge on getting everyone in the family to write a tribute. All you need to do is pick one person you want to honor.