~A Guest Post by Shannon Harrell~
It’s a little strange writing to people who don’t yet exist. My first few letters started with something like, “Hey you! I don’t know you or anything about you yet, but I already know I love you and I’m praying for you.”
Why I Started Writing to My Future Kids
This idea became important to me while I was in college working with high school girls. Some of the issues they were struggling with felt so insignificant and distant. This is a natural feeling when processing silly high school drama, but some of their hurts were much bigger and deeper. I remembered struggling over questions of identity and severe stress as a high school student, but as a college student I was in a different season with a new set of opportunities and challenges. I decided to better document my current feelings to help me remember what those seasons felt like, to reflect on what I was learning and to be able to share these experiences with others.
Have you ever had a “when I’m a parent (or insert any role of your choice), I will do it differently” moment? When I’m a boss, I won’t micromanage or when I’m a spouse, I will never nag. It is so easy for me to forget where I’ve come from and that everyone is on their own journey, experiencing their current life stage for the first time. My fifty-year-old self will hopefully have so much grace, wisdom and kindness to encourage the next generation, but my twenty-three-year-old self had a uniquely personal awareness of the pain of a broken heart after a devastating breakup. Even now, it’s difficult to relate to the challenges I faced when I was 18. But those experiences helped shape me and I want to share them.
My Own Version of Back to the Future
Another reason why I write letters to my future kids is that it feels strangely bonding. This is a social experiment and we will find out in 20 years if it’s actually a horrible idea. But there has been something comical and fun to me about writing to my kids. I’m hoping they will learn more about who I was in my teens and twenties, how I’ve processed dating, the job hunt, friendship and what I’ve been recently learning about myself and about God. It’s my own version of Back to the Future.
The most significant benefit of these letters is the ability to intentionally pray over my kids and even over myself. My recent letters have been full of dating advice, prayers and scripture. I pray that my daughters would not settle for men who are indecisive or lukewarm. I pray that they would be pursued, loved and known. I pray that regardless of any amount of uncertainty in their lives, that they would find their worth and identity in Christ.
So, if you had a time machine and could meet your twenty-year-old son or daughter, what would you say? Tell me in the comments below!
Shannon is a Colorado-raised dreamer and Project Specialist for a nonprofit organization. She loves Jesus and is passionate about missions and sharing the great news of His grace. Her love languages are classic literature, beach days and aspen trees. She’s also quite fond of sweet lattes, old books and all types of adventures.
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Hey there! My name is Rachel and I’m a 23 year old wife and mother. I’m decidedly in favor of DIY projects and decidedly against mom-shaming. This blog is my place to take a stand against superiority and to share ways to thrive in motherhood. My hope is that you leave this site feeling validated and encouraged in your mom-bilities.
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