She was in kindergarten when I came face-to-face with a big mommy fail. I had eaten school lunch with her the previous week and happened to notice a little boy as he pulled a note out of his lunchbox with a big red heart on it. The handwriting indicated that it was most likely from his sweet mama. "I really should do that," I thought. “She would love it.”
Sadly, that good intention never got past the cafeteria doors. It was forgotten about long before the trash was collected and her classmates formed into a single file line. I kissed her goodbye, squeezed her tight, and watched her walk away. The next thing on my to-do list was already filling my mind.
The following week I was packing her lunchbox and noticed the backside of a piece of paper in her zipper pouch. “I wonder what this is?” I thought. I unzipped the pouch that held her spoon and the mystery piece of paper and found this:
“I Love You from Mom”
My heart dropped. She had forged her own lunchbox note. The recollection to surprise her with a note of my own flooded my mind. “I never wrote the note,” I thought. “So, she wrote her own.”
With a pang in my heart, I documented this mommy fail on Facebook that night and wrote:
Mamas, do me a favor please? Help me redeem this err, this forgotten act of love...write your sweet little darlings a love note tonight. Tuck it someplace that will surprise them. Tuck it someplace...like a lunchbox...so that your kid can beam with pride knowing that mom paused, mom remembered, and mom loves them. I already have tomorrow's lunchbox note done and I hope you’ll do it, too.
The responses were swift and sweet. Some of my mama friends commented by saying that they hadn’t written a lunchbox note in years and were thankful for the reminder. Others commented by sharing how their own mamas used to write them notes and told me how much they still cherish them. Many more simply wrote, “Done!”
It helped my heart to know that, because of my goof, so many mamas were encouraged to pause that night and convey their love for their child in a way that goes down deep into their heart. My child, and many others, were going to unzip a little surprise the next day and the thought of that made me smile.
The next day, much to my delight, my girl’s teacher sent me this picture and message:
“She was so happy that she wanted to keep holding it! When we got back to the room, I noticed her sitting at her table with it in her hands!”
It had originally been a mommy fail, yes. But, it was an easily redeemable mommy fail that resulted in a mommy win. Any time a parent makes their child feel loved is a win, no matter the number of fails that came before it.
Fast forward two years. I had forgotten all about our lunchbox note story until it recently popped up in my Facebook memories. “You, know,” I thought, “I haven’t done that in a while. I really need to start writing notes again.”
I chided myself for dropping the ball once again and instantly regretted the months that I have allowed to lapse between my lunchbox notes. I honestly think an entire year has passed without a single note. Just as I was internally reprimanding myself, the Holy Spirit whispered, “You can start again tonight.”
Full of grace.
I smiled and thought, “Yes, I’ll start again tonight.” And, as the thought of doing so grew, another sweet thought followed:
“I’ll encourage other mamas to do it again, too.”
So, mamas and grandmamas, will you join me? Will you pause and write a note to those precious ones in your life? Tuck it inside their lunchboxes. Tuck it inside their backpacks. Tuck it inside the books they are reading. Tuck it under their pillows. Tuck it in their toothpaste drawers. Tuck it in their sock drawers. Tuck it some place that you are sure they’ll find it. If they are long distance, mail it. Children love nothing more than receiving a piece of mail.
A simple, “I love you,” will suffice. Or, consider these other ideas:
Whatever you say, I can promise you one thing…your words will go deeply into the soil of their hearts. Scripture says,
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
What does this verse have to do with love notes? Well, notice the word treasure. This word is the Greek word thēsaurou and it means “a storehouse for precious things.” It is the origin for the late 16th English word thesaurus. When you hear the word thesaurus, what do you immediately think of? Words! When we speak or write words of life to our children, they store them up as one would store up treasure. These spoken and written words are kept safely inside their hearts and influence their thoughts and speech possibly for their entire lives.
Receiving a note that says, “You are more precious than rubies Proverbs 3:15,” or “The Lord has wonderful plans for you Jeremiah 29:11,” drives these truths down deep. Or, a note that says, “I noticed how you picked your teammate up on the court the other day when she fell,” prompts her towards more acts of kindness. Notes that say, “I cannot wait to see you after school,” “I’m praying clarity for you as you take your test today,” or “You are showing so much responsibility lately,” spur our children on.
Like seeds planted deeply into the soil, our words are deposited into their hearts and remain there. Verbally speaking our good thoughts toward them is important. Never let a day pass without speaking life into them. But, writing these thoughts reinforce them as our children read and reread our words over and over.
Today I am challenging myself, and you, to what I’m calling The Love Note Challenge. Write a note tonight and tuck it into a familiar place. Then, do it again a week from now, two weeks from now, or a month from now. Just choose a frequency that works for you, circle it on the calendar, and stick with it. Your child may never mention it. But, I promise you, they WILL read it.
So, are you in? Do you want to add words of life to your children’s treasure boxes? Do you want your children to store up the good words that you speak into them? I know that I do! But, it would bring me even greater joy to know that a kindergartener's forged lunchbox love note resulted in a wave of mamas everywhere putting pen and heart to paper and joining me in this privilege that we have been given. Let's do it together!
If you want to accept this challenge, let us know by commenting or sharing! And, if you snap a picture to post on Facebook to encourage other mamas to join you, tag us by adding @byfaithshe so that we can see it, too!
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.
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