My niece is doing this very cool thing for my grand nephew. She is taking the Oh the Places You'll Go book that we bought her for her high school graduation and having his teachers sign it at the end of each of his school years to give to him when he graduates. Along with that she is having us write him letters at the end of each year that she will give to him then as well.
Isn't that cool? I was completely on board with the idea when she asked if we would write him a letter. What a great thing.
Then I sat down to write the letter. What do you say? I'm writing to future him while he is current him. What can I say right now that will matter to him then? Should I talk about what he is like? Should I talk about what I hope for him? And how do I talk to him? He's 6 right now. But he'll be 18 when he gets the letters. Completely different person. So it's a challenge.
Then I started thinking about those Facebook things that go around off and on, "What would advice would you give to your 16 year old self?" or "If you could tell your younger self one thing what would it be?" I don't usually have anything to add to those threads. First off the teenage me wasn't keen on taking advice from anyone. I was forging my own way, dammit, and you just better stand back. And what would you say that would mean anything? I saw one friend who said she would tell her younger self to stay away from Joe. Well, okay, but your younger self doesn't know who that is yet, and will probably meet a lot of Joes. What if they stay away from one that gave them a job? Or a good piece of advice? Or if in staying away from the Joe you meant they didn't learn a really valuable lesson about misplaced trust and ended up with Allen who was MUCH worse?
It's all about the changes that you make. If you could make specific changes that didn't then change everything else you would. But then there would be no point in making the changes in the first place because you wouldn't really be changing anything. So no advice for 16 year old me. And no one thing I would tell my younger self.
But that still leaves me with the letter. Well I kept it fairly short. If I am going to write one of these a year he will end up with 13 from just me and I have no idea how many other people are writing them. And odds are he won't really care right at graduation. He will later. We tend to get more sentimental as we age, so I would expect that when he is starting his own family he will go back to these letters and read them again. Knowing how much his mother loves him, how much planning she put in to this project. That will matter so much more than any words I can write to him.
So I touched a little on who he is right now. A little on what he was doing. A little on what I wished for him and finally a little on the whole challenge of doing the letters. I hope he likes it. I guess we will see. Just 12 more years to go!
(oh and don't worry about this spoiling the surprise, hard to believe but he doesn't read my blog!)