Kids in your life? The Life Letter is for them — and for you. Start yours today.

Good Luck!

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

I knew the late Mrs. John (Elizabeth) Edwards was particularly devoted to her children and family… but when I learned from her funeral coverage that she had left behind a long letter which she had been writing for them over the course of many years, my admiration for the lady rose still more.

In my family we call such a letter, the Life Letter and encourage particularly parents and grandparents to start one as soon as you know a little one is on the way. It will quickly become one of your own most valued possessions… as it will become, in due time, valuable for the kids you leave it to. This article will help you get started with your own Life Letter, the gift of generations, assisting you to create a masterwork.

What is a Life Letter?

A Life Letter is a letter written by you to your children and/or (in due course) your grand children. It is “one-sided” in the sense that you are writing it for your dearly beloved without any expectation that they will either respond to it or even see during your life time. A Life Letter has a specific mission. It is to let the recipient into both your own life… and into theirs from your unique standpoint as parent or grandparent.

A Life Letter is neither a personal journal nor a regular posted letter. Nor is it either an email or random jottings and particular information as found in a baby book. It partakes of certain elements from these genres and types. However, it is very much its own thing, sui generis, as you come to see and enjoy as your Life Letter takes shape over time.

Get going, keep going

For a thing destined to rank amongst the most important possessions of your life, a treasured heirloom, surprisingly little is needed for its creation except for two must have features: the willingness to start creating your Life Letter at once… and an iron-clad determination to keep working at it for the duration of your life. A labor of love it may be… but the work involved is real nonetheless and must be properly organized.

What you need to start today

Before writing a word of your Life Letter, gather what you’ll need:

fountain pen a ream of lined paper a folder with pockets a “writing place”.

A quick word about these items:

fountain pen. Remember, your objective is to reveal yourself through your Life Letter and create a thing of beauty and insight for your family. For this a fountain pen is desirable. However, in recommending this essential tool, I know full well that today copperplate writing is as rare as a hen’s tooth. As such, if you cannot rise to the elegance and style of a fountain pen… make sure you have a typewriter (my IBM Selectric II is a gem) or email.

There are trade-offs here. Your handwriting (execrable though it may be, like my own) is a better indicator of who you are than typed words. Moreover, your Life Letter must be spontaneous and “of the moment.” Typing and email smack too much of deliberation — and business. Unfortunately, too many people today have my problem of illegible scrawling. Thus, for us, while our Life Letter may be less personal if not hand written, it will be infinitely more readable. So, how about a compromise?

If your poor handwriting warrants, write the headings and special notes and salutations in ink. Type the rest. Thus you retain the special bond with recipient that comes with words handwritten.

Proper storage is crucial.

That’s where the folder with pockets comes in. As you write, number the pages and put them away in folders. Each folder must be dated for the time covered… and always kept in the safest place in the house. (Unsurprisingly people who have spent decades on their Life Letters keep them in a safety deposit box, thereby indicating their value.)

Your warm, confiding “writing place”.

When you sit down to “talk” to your children and grandchildren via your Life Letter, you need a warm, inviting, confiding place in which to do it. In such a place you are completely and entirely at home. It should be comfortable… with a family pictures, books, mementoes, a room redolent of cherished memories and always of cherished people.

Here favorite foods and liquids are de rigueur, with stains and spots proving use and personal title. Here shoes are kicked off and shirt collars opened. Here there is always a place for you… and as such the words flow thick and fast as you tell your posterity and record for yourself your journey on this planet… a journey that has brought you to this time and place and which you, no matter how imperfectly, want to share. Such a place is for you and the very carefully selected only, the people you value most and profoundly. They deserve your best… and you must give it to them, for their good and for your own soul’s sake.

Begin today

Most people leave nothing on this globe but their genetic footprints implanted in their successors. You have chosen to leave more, a record of tales and occurrences, of items significant, hilarious, mundane, heart rending.

Start today.

Ready your writing place. Place before you the most challenging item in any writer’s kit… the blank page. Then begin your Life Letter.

Write the date you have commenced on your folder. Write your salutation… and begin. Where? It doesn’t matter for this is a letter. It has a place for everything… and tolerates random disclosures as well as lapses in communication, just as we do with old and valued friends who, loving us, abide our infirmities and inefficiencies, too.

And if such lapses occur, don’t blame yourself, no matter how long it has been since you have written in this lifelong epistle. Simply pick up your pen and begin again. Your reader, your flesh and blood, will be fascinated by whatever you share, for in sharing yourself so you not only fill gaps in their personal intelligence… you illuminate and reveal their own lives. Begin this voyage now for you have much to tell:

Heureux qui, comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage. — Joachim du Bellay.

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant’s live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Dr. Lant’s is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author’s permission by George Kosch Check out Article Marketing Robot ->

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