Writing Your Legacy Letter, with Blake Brewer
Do you want to write the perfect letter to your kids, but don’t know exactly where to start, what to say, or how to share your heart best?
Legacy Letters solve this problem.
Blake Brewer is on a mission to help 1 million dads write at least one well-written, meaningful, lasting Legacy Letter to their children.
Today, we’re digging into the importance of our parent’s words, how to prepare your heart and mind to write this letter, the three things that everyone needs to hear from their Dad and Mom, and how to ask forgiveness as a parent.
So if you want to share the words that best communicate your heart… tune in now!
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 49:25 — 56.6MB)
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Table of contents
Why Write Down Your Legacy
Writing a legacy letter, as we’ll explore, is an opportunity to create a tremendous impact in the lives of your children. It’s actually important for the same reason life insurance is important on a security level–because one day, you won’t be around. And like life insurance, a legacy letter can help your children move forward with as few obstacles as possible.
Lucas and I wrote legacy letters for our children after my near-death experience a few years ago. At the time, we wondered: What if we don’t have all the decades ahead that we hope for? How would we be able to communicate all the most important thoughts and lessons to our daughters?
A legacy letter is your opportunity to leave a tangible piece of yourself and your wisdom with your children and loved ones. That way, no matter what the future brings, you can be confident that all of your most important thoughts will make it into your children’s hands. It’s a powerful tool for families, especially for families looking to build a robust, multi-generational structure for the future.
The Legacy Letter that Started it All
[5:44] Our guest, Blake Brewer, shares his own experience of loss, and how that led to his role in helping families create their legacy letters. After his father’s passing, which was incredibly sudden, Blake’s mother gave him the letter his father had written for him.
[10:43] “Even before I finished the letter, I felt so loved, that my dad would take the time to write this letter. I don’t know what he gave up, what he sacrificed, what TV show he didn’t watch; but my dad took the time to write down his thoughts and feelings about us, and gave some great life advice. The last line of this letter, only God could have allowed my dad to write it. My dad wrote, ‘As you follow Christ, you’ll often find yourself in the minority here on Earth, but I can assure you in Heaven, you’ll be in the majority…’”
The words were the exact comfort that Blake needed at that moment and helped him to begin processing his grief. In fact, it helped him to process his grief in a healthy way, thanks to his father’s words. He says it was that letter that changed his life.
[12:05] “My dad had life insurance, so I’m grateful for that as well. My mom didn’t have to go to work, our life stayed the same, and I’m thankful for that. But this letter is worth just as much as the money that my dad provided for us.”
Helping 1 Million Dads
A few years ago, Blake decided to write his own letter to his children, so that they would have something of him when they needed it most. But when he sat down to start writing, he saw how difficult it was. He had plenty of ideas to put onto the page, but organizing them into the right words was hard. Other fathers he had talked to over the years, who resonated with Blake’s story, had also found the process difficult.
At the same time, God brought several other men into his life that received letters from their fathers. And these letters also changed their trajectory. This is what spurned Blake’s mission to help one million dads write at least one letter. Now, he’s expanded to helping moms write their letters as well.
Crafting Your Legacy Letter
The beauty of the legacy letter, in Blake’s eyes, is that it contains wisdom you can gift to your children at any time. You may write multiple legacy letters over the course of your adult life, for various reasons. For that reason, it’s not something Blake believes you must wait to give to your children. This is a letter that contains your best wisdom to impart, as well as how you feel about your children, and that’s something they can benefit from as soon as possible.
When crafting your letter, it’s important to consider what you want your children right now. Then, make sure that you take the time to craft it into something meaningful. The legacy letter isn’t just a thoughtful note your write in five minutes. It’s something you pour yourself into, to create a lasting impact.
The Parent “Wound”
Blake also introduces the idea of a “parent wound.”
[24:37] “The thing is, none of our parents were perfect, and we’re not perfect either.”
It’s important to acknowledge these imperfections as a part of your relationship with your family. Blake guides parents who are writing legacy letters through the process of evaluating their own relationships with their parents, and how that affected them. This process helps parents to consider the ways in which they might be impacting their children.
The process is not designed to create shame or bring up problems. It’s about solving potential issues and healing any generational hurt that may be lingering in families. Identifying and addressing this can aid your legacy letter, and the thoughts you hope to convey.
Forgiveness is one of the last lessons that Blake leads parents through as they construct their letters. Despite this, he recommends that parents put this at the beginning of the letter they write. Asking for the forgiveness of your children is so powerful because, despite your best intentions, there are going to be times when you fail. As a human, you cannot meet every need of your child, as much as you may want to. You can only do your best. And inevitably, this means that there will be times when you must seek forgiveness.
If you reflect on your own relationship with your parents, this need to ask forgiveness becomes clearer, because you can probably think of ways your own parents have hurt you. Because of this, you can also likely imagine what an impact it would have if they asked you for your forgiveness.
[28:06] “When you apologize, it brings people in closer. It shows humility. So if you really want to connect with your children on a deeper level, if you really want to impact them and show that humility, apologize.”
This also sets an example to your children that taking responsibility for your actions, and apologizing when you’ve done wrong, is important. If you would ask your children to apologize for an offense, it’s wise to model that behavior for them.
[30:13] “I think that’s the profound piece of self-leadership. You have to lead yourself in order to be able to lead your family. And really, by writing this letter, it is powerfully leading your family.”
The Most Important Components of Your Legacy Letter
One of the most important things to include in your letter, as Blake shares, is your love for your children. In particular, there should be an expression that your love for your child is unconditional.
[31:07] “Communicate to your children that you love them, that it’s unconditional, that there’s nothing that they can do tomorrow to make you love them any more or any less. Because really, when a person feels loved by their parents, they just have so much more confidence in life.”
The next essential thing to convey in your letter is that you’re proud of your children. All children seek the approval of their parents, regardless of what that relationship looks like. It’s critical that you express this to your children.
[35:09] “I tell parents, let’s not leave it for our children to guess what would make us proud. Let’s tell them. And also, let’s not focus on what they do, but who they are as a person. And let’s affirm their character traits.”
Lastly, the letter is not about coddling your children. It’s about calling them up, and helping them become the person they can be. You’re giving your children a vision of themselves at their best so that they can rise to the occasion.
Connect with Blake
About Blake Brewer
Blake Brewer is on a mission to help every dad write one. Blake is on a mission to help 1 million dads write at least one well-written, meaningful, lasting Legacy Letter to their children.
Blake has a wonderful wife and loves being a father to his three children, all under 5. As he leads his family, he draws from many mentors, but none more important than his late father, Larry Brewer.
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