TIMELESS FATHER’S DAY GIFT HE’LL NEVER FORGET
If your dad is anything like my dad or husband, he has all he needs and buys what he wants so finding a gift for either of them is really tough.
But, here’s an idea for a great Father’s Day gift that will last a lifetime. It may be the one he’ll never forget.
A few years ago, I decided instead of giving my husband something that would end up in his gift graveyard (unless it was a Porsche Cayman), I’d give him something more meaningful and personal that would have a lasting impression. Something he could not only enjoy now but that would also stand as part of his legacy: a letter.
In today’s age of technology, letter writing is a lost art. You’ll be amazed at the “wow effect” your words can have on another person. Letters allow you to express gratitude for the impact someone’s had on your life.
- are personal
- are specific
- allow you to express heartfelt praise and gratitude
- are a great way to tell someone how you feel
- allow you to express something you might not otherwise say
- have great historical value
- will be treasured for generations to come
I’ll usually frame the letter and read it to my husband. He can hang it if he chooses as a constant reminder of my undying love, respect, and admiration of him (even when it’s not so evident). Or he can shove it in a drawer and pull it out from time to time. I believe he cherishes those letters more than any gift I could give him (including a Porsche Cayman).
I recommend writing letters for any reason or any occasion. You can honor anyone with a letter.
- Write letters to your kids on their birthdays.
- Write letters to your husband for your anniversary.
- Write letters to your parents.
- Encourage your children to write letters as well.
- Write letters for posterity’s sake. (So people after you’re dead people will know how you felt, what you thought, blah, blah, blah.)
(Noticeable side effects may include tears and mended relationships.)
In recognition of Father’s Day, here’s a great example of a letter of honor. This letter was written to my husband, not by me, but by Frank Hunnes, Jr.* My husband worked for Frank, a former Marine and Regional Business Director at Johnson and Johnson, over 20 years ago. Frank recently sent this letter to my husband and one of his former colleagues.
Frank, Jr.’s letter was prompted by a letter written by his own father more than 50 years ago to students at the school where he taught.
In it, Frank Hunnes, Jr., praises his own father Frank Hunnes, Sr., and then uses his father’s example as a springboard to praise my husband and another former colleague. It is a great example of how the written word has a lasting impression
Frank Hunnes, Sr., epitomized fatherhood. He put his love for his God and his family above all else. The valor of his life is evident in the letter he wrote to the students at Kellogsville High School in Michigan. One of his former students posted a copy of the letter and his picture on a Facebook page maintained by the school. (See Below.)
This gesture alone demonstrates the lasting impact of a letter.
Dear K and M:
K, we recently were talking about the value of education and the sorry fact that many young people aren’t willing to work for an education. When my Dad was drafted during WWII, he had just completed two years at Grand Rapids Junior College, where he also played football. He was the only son of Dutch immigrants and the only one of 4 children to graduate from High School. During the war he was shot in both legs and suffered horrible injuries that seriously limited his mobility and ended his college football aspirations. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star but he was most proud of his Expert Infantryman’s Badge. He underwent many surgeries and was hospitalized for almost a full year. During that time, he met and married my mother a French citizen.
He returned to the states in 1945 and began teaching at Kelloggsville ( the school he attended in HS ) under a special certificate because he had only completed two years of college. He then continued to teach while taking night classes at Aquinas and graduated in 1954 and now had 4 children.
He then continued his night studies in order to earn his Masters Degree from the University of Michigan. At that time the U of M required grad students to complete one session on the main campus, so in the summer of 1960, with 6 children, we all moved to Ann Arbor for the summer and lived in a two bedroom apartment in married housing on campus. It was great fun for me. When I didn’t have to watch my younger siblings, I explored the entire campus and also ran from one end of the field to the other in the Big House.
Can you imagine what it would be like to come home to a 2 bedroom apartment with 6 kids and try to study and type papers on a “Typewriter.”
When my father passed away two years ago at age 90, I was really pleased to see that so many of his past students and teachers came to honor him. He was a real hero and role model to all of us but one of my brothers-in-law expressed it best – “He more than any other man we knew, was able to live his life in honor of Jesus!”
A real saint on earth and so was my Mom, supporting him all the way while making incredible sacrifices. And kids today say they can’t go to college or can’t do something special – it’s because they haven’t tried or aren’t willing to sacrifice. They want immediate gratification without the work.
I am so proud of what great fathers both of you have been to your children! Both of you were blessed with wonderful and supportive spouses and I am confident that your own children will carry on legacy!
This Father’s Day honor your dad or someone who has been like a dad to you or someone you respect as a father with a letter. Let him know how much you appreciate his example and how he has impacted your life.
Begin building a letter writing legacy this Father’s Day. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
*Frank Hunnes, Jr., was an officer in the U.S. Marines. He served a tour in Vietnam. His father, Frank Hunnes, Sr., died in 2013 at the age of 90.