Message in a Bottle: What would you say to your children if you had 25 words or lessSubmitted in Parenting, Faith & Spirituality by Tiffany Fletcher on May 14, 2013
If you were given one last opportunity to share a message with your child, but limited to 25 words or less, what would you say that would have the greatest influence on the rest of their life?
Children are amazing. They are full of light and love, and so willing to forgive. They are open to the endless possibilities that life has to offer and even willingly accept the impossible. They are teachable and eager to learn, which is why the role of a parent is so important.
Rosemary Wixom, religious leader, and long time child advocate said, “One of the greatest influences a person can have in this world is to influence a child… Everyone within the sound of my voice has the power to increase a child’s confidence in himself or herself and to increase a child’s faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through the words that we speak… We can also influence our children through the words we write them.”
Wixom told the story of a father who was imprisoned during Vietnam and, after two years, was given permission to write home, but was only allowed 25 words to share what might be his last message to his family. She then asked the question, “What words would you write to your children if you had 25 words or less?”
After pondering this question, I believe I have an answer. These are the words I would write: You are loved. Feel God’s arms around you. Serve others. Treasure God’s Spirit. He’ll keep you safe and bring you home. Be still and listen.
You are loved. I want my children to know that without a doubt, they are loved and because of this, they are never alone. They are loved by me, and they are loved by their Heavenly Father. I think that too many times children can feel unloved, unwanted and alone. I want to make sure my children have a written reminder from me that they are loved. Therefore, never unwanted or alone.
Feel God’s arms around you. I want my children to know that I know God lives and that he will come to them in their time of need and comfort them. They are his children, and he will not leave them comfortless. At those times when I cannot be there to comfort them, I want my children to know that they have a Heavenly Father who can and will come to them and comfort them instead. He will wrap them in the arms of his love.
Serve others. I want my children to be aware of the needs of the people around them. When Christ was upon the earth, he spent his days in service to others. I want my children to develop the same characteristics of Christ. Service to others is the best way for them to develop those characteristics. Through serving others, my children will be able to learn such qualities as kindness, love, gratitude, forgiveness, humility, and the greatest of all, charity. In addition to this, through service, my children will be introduced to the feelings of the Spirit. For when service is given, both the heart of the giver and the heart of the receiver are filled with the love of God.
Treasure God’s Spirit. The word treasure is a powerful one, and with 25 words or less, every word counts. I want my children to value God’s Spirit in their life above any other earthly or worldly possession. Having God’s Spirit with them will be of more worth than anything else they can possess, for with God, nothing is impossible.
He’ll keep you safe and bring you home. I want my children to know that they can rely on the Spirit to guide them throughout their lives. God’s Spirit will warn them in times of danger and be a protection to them. He will also serve as a guide and lead them to their heavenly home. The word "bring" is important, because I want my children to know that I will do all that I can to make sure I am there waiting for them when they return, so the Spirit will bring them home where I will be waiting.
Be still and listen. I want my children to be unafraid and unworried of what lies ahead of them. I want them to be free from fear and trouble. I want them to be still and trust in God, knowing that he will always provide for their needs. I want them to stand still and listen to the still small voice, for it will tell them the way they must go and all the things they must do. If I cannot be there for my children, the greatest thing that I can do for them as a mother is to teach them to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit. If I can do that, then I know they will be taken care of because they will have the ability to hear the voice of God.
We all have the ability to influence a child, especially our own. There are many different words you could write to your children if you had 25 words or less. These words are the words I choose to share with mine. What 25 words would you choose to share with the children in your life?
Tiffany Fletcher is a home-schooling mother of five, a motivational speaker, and the author of "Mother Had a Secret: Learning to Love my Mother and her Multiple Personalities". She uses her own experiences to help others overcome adversity and find hope and meaning in their lives. You can like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. She blogs at http://motherhadasecret.blogspot.com/