On Christmas Eve, as I shopped in Old Town Alexandria, as a stocking stuffer I picked up a little book called “My Dad – His Stories, His Words” (ISBN 978-193231964-4, www.live-inspired.com) for my 10-year old boy.
It’s a very small book, maybe 4 by 6 inches, maybe 5/8 of an inch thick. It doesn’t have a lot of words printed in it. The words that do appear are at the top of the page, and they are all prompts for Dad to write. Some examples:
- “Dad, which were your favorite pets, and what made them special?”
- “Dad, what traits do you have that your parents also had? And which side of the family do you most resemble?”
- “Dad, how did you meet Mom?”
- “Dad, what’s your favorite motto, quotation, or saying? And where did you hear it?”
There are a few dozen of these opportunities in the book for dads to tell their kids about themselves. Now, I know this happens all the time during conversation, but I think there’s something about writing these things down that force us to think about our words a little more carefully. Writing it down in a book, one with pages and a hard cover that could last a lifetime like this little number, makes what we have a say a little more meaningful; dare I say, a little more holy.
Since I originally posted this, Christmas gift-opening has come and gone. My son Jimmy got to the stocking and grabbed inside. The book came out first. He opened it up, read half of my first story (about my house and the street I grew up on) and after fifteen seconds he put it down and smiled. “Cool,” he said. “What else is in there? It was clear from his hands that he meant the stocking, not the book.
So maybe I’ll have to keep the book safe for him for another day. You know, the day when he’s old enough to want more of his old man’s life story.