One of life’s pleasures is giving our children a truly meaningful and unexpected gift. But, let’s be honest—with the convenience of gift cards, it’s so much easier to stick with their wish list. I know it’s my surefire way of guaranteeing they’ll like my choice!
But here’s a gift idea they would never conceive of, but which may go down as their all-time favorite. And it won’t cost you a thing. I call it a “blessing packet.”
Imagine your teen receiving an unexpected, gift-wrapped package. It’s light in weight and makes a shuffling sound when shaken. When unwrapped, the first thing they’ll see is a small envelope containing instructions. They’re told to open the larger envelope when they have uninterrupted quality time to digest its contents. At that seminal moment, they’ll discover a priceless collection of smaller envelopes inside.
Within each envelope is a personal letter from a special person honoring your child with words of affirmation, encouragement, and confidence in his or her future. Loving perspectives of your teen’s uniqueness and value and what those have meant to each writer. Special verses or inspirational messages. Pictures and mementos of precious times together. Expressions of how much they are loved and believed in.
It’s simple, yet profound! (Some schools even arrange retreats where each student receives this gift, generally coordinated with the parents.) Want to try it?
First, consider the people who have occupied a special place in the life of your teen…usually family members, friends, teachers, coaches, and mentors. Then, ask them to craft a personal, inspirational letter in a privately sealed envelope you’ll collect and deliver to the unsuspecting receiver. That’s it!
A keepsake gift like this can strengthen your teen’s self worth, identity, and sense of significance and calling. It’ll remind them of their passions, talents, and special qualities as seen by their many fans around them. It’ll offer encouragement to persevere through life’s challenges.
Not only is this a wonderful gift to receive, but it’s also a special occasion for the givers. It offers them a unique opportunity to say what’s on their heart to a special person in their life. For parents who struggle with verbalizing their feelings (hello dads!) it’s an easy way to express your thoughts. Having written several for my kids and their friends, I can attest to its power to both giver and receiver!
Have you ever given anything like a blessing packet to your kids? How did they respond? What other sentimental gifts have you given that will last forever?
Dennis Trittin is President and CEO of LifeSmart Publishing, author of What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead and co-author of Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World. With world-class leadership experience, passionate advocacy for the next generation, and acclaimed resources and speaking engagements on the topics of leadership, life skills, and parenting, Dennis inspires and equips young people and those who guide them. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter!