Most of you know my dad, Chuck Schipma. Back in February of 1980, Chuck bought two identical books for his two very similar blonde daughters, aged 7 and 5. Our parents often did this, bought us the same things so that life felt fair.
Chuck wrote a message in each of these identical books to his two daughters. He wanted his daughters to know how much this book meant to him.
He also wrote a Bible verse. The notes in both books were similar, but he chose a different verse for each of his daughters.
The opening line of the note in my book was, “Now that you have begun to learn how to read…”
In 1980, I was five years old, with long braids, skinny limbs, very quiet and shy. When my dad gave me the book, I remember thinking, “I can’t read this yet! I’ve barely started to learn how to read!”
But I also remember feeling special because:
- My dad gave me a present
- My dad wrote me a note
- My dad chose a verse for me that was different from the verse he chose for my older sister.
The selection of that verse made me feel like I mattered individually, because he chose it just for me. I have always felt ownership of it.
Yesterday, I needed to write a message very quickly in a book for a kid. I remembered that my dad had written that long-ago note in my first Bible, so I grabbed it off the bookshelf and balanced it next to the one I was writing in. I was surprised that his words from 1980 were almost exactly what I wanted to say, so I copied them over.
I even copied the verse. Not because that verse was for another child, but because it was “my verse” passed down from Chuck Schipma through me.
What meaningful words were written to you as a child? Have you saved any notes or letters that adults wrote to you?