The Best Thing I've Done for My Children in 2023

The Best Thing I've Done for My Children in 2023

Val and I recently updated our estate documents. Yeah, check that off the to-do list. All the formalities are set. Yet my personal fulfilment for getting this done only set in after I completed my own, personal letters to my children. I was super motivated after talking with Blake Brewer on the Legacy Letter that he’s developed (check out his appearance on the Today Show here). For Blake, his dad’s letter was found in his briefcase after he tragically drowned while they were snorkeling together in Hawaii. Blake’s dad had planned to give him the letter on their trip.

The structure of the letter was exactly what I needed. I had it all written up within a few days. The suggested outline with example snippets (not mine) are below:

Intro: I’m living a great life! After growing up in Chicago and attending Xavier, I married your beautiful mom and we’ve been together through all of life’s ups and downs…

Apology: My only wish was to be a supportive and loving Dad. If I messed up along the way, I apologize…

I Love You, I’m Proud of You, I Believe in You: Jill, my love for you is unconditional. You are a big part of my great life. I am so proud of you. Your compassion, energy, and creativity come out in everything you do. Remember that 6th grade project you did? I believe in who you have become and the life you want to live. You are living a very special life that I am fortunate to be a part of…

Memories: Remember our first trip to the Snake River when you caught that 6 lb brown trout? We cooked that guy up over hot coals at the side of the river and smiled from ear to ear all the way back to Boston…

Advice: These are some of the ways I have tried to live my life…Travel and be spontaneous…. Always be learning…Be “In the Moment.” Technology can have an enormous impact on these areas (both good and bad)…

Legacy Line / Last paragraph: “Never stop believing in yourself.” In life, everyone has challenges…

Each section only needs to be a few sentences. Keep it simple. At some point, I plan to give these letters to my children as Dad’s lame birthday present. I also imagine doing different editions of each letter in future years and recording myself reading it to them.

I felt a huge sense of relief after completing the letters to Shelby and Maddie. I am going to do one for Val as well. If you think this exercise would be valuable for you, I am happy to talk to you about my experience with it. My hope is that these letters will give our children the comfort, confidence, and inspiration to move forward in life with great intentions. Thanks for reading!

P.S. If I'm not around, tell Val my Letters are located on my work computer’s OneDrive. 😊

About the Author

Dennis Doble

Dennis Doble

I am an avid gardener, a trait I inherited from my Sicilian grandfather. Herb, cucumber, spinach, lettuce, and tomato varietals fill my yard each Summer. I am the only person in my neighborhood bold enough to plant vegetables in the front yard (best sun).  Get me talking about growing tomatoes and the conversation might never end. The garden is a special place for my two daughters and me. We chase each other around the eggplants, search for cucumbers hiding under the vine, dig for worms, and pluck tomatoes just as they show a tint of ripeness.

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