~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.

9 Comments

  1. I keep a journal that I hope my children will read after I am gone. I have included letters to them at different times in their lives.

    Reply
  2. This is an absolutely amazing idea! As the years go by we are constantly evolving and learning from our mistakes and going through rough times that have really tested us. If my mother wrote letters to me like this that I could read now, I would appreciate them and understand her so much more. I honestly wish I thought to do this before my son was born, but you have completely inspired me to start now. More people should definitely do this! I can see it really bringing families together <3

    Reply
  3. This is absolutely precious! It makes me overjoyed to read and hear what everyone does to prepare one day.

    Reply
  4. I don’t have kids, but when I was younger and used to journal all the time, I used to title entries to them (I put “Angel” as the name) so I do love this idea.

    Reply
  5. This is something I have never thought of before! I love this idea because it can honestly be the driving force that helps your future child through a tough time or provide them a “shoulder to cry on” I love this!

    Reply
  6. I have always thought about writing letters to my daughter so she could read them later in life. I really like your ideas.

    Reply
  7. Wow! I love love love this idea! Looks like I need to start writing!

    Reply
  8. I have never thought to do this, but I like the idea. I am a writer, so it would be goo to write down things I want to tell them. I do try to take many pictures since pictures help me remember stories.

    Reply
  9. I love this so much! It sounds even crazier but I started writing letters to my future kids when I was 16! I find it so bonding too☺️

    Reply

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