The Art of Words

Tena and DadThe next two paragraphs were first published in the book 365 Ways to Connect with Your Kids by Charlene Ann Baumbich. They were written by my dad, Rich. What is precious to me about this book in particular is that it is the only time my dad and I shared personal stories which were published in the same book. When I heard about Charlene’s request for parents to write about ways they have connected with their kids, I asked my dad to write about the poems he wrote to each of his girls every Christmas. I am SO glad I did. Here are his words:

“I have always written poetry. I started writing poems about my daughters concerning things I had watched them accomplished, struggle with or create. Sometimes I’d write an inspirational poem about how they shouldn’t let life frustrate them. They were all done in free verse. I usually spent the most time writing them in November to December to put in their stockings on Christmas Eve. It was amazing to watch them run to the stockings and sit and read those poems before even looking for the goodies or small gifts. My wife would let them read them for a day or two then she put them in a binder.

When the oldest daughter got married, my wife gave them to her on her wedding day. I was even amazed to see the volume of poems I had written. It was a fascinating record of her life growing up and what I had observed in that life. My other younger daughters also got to glimpse at their volumes. Their poetry volumes will be given to them at some appropriate time.”

Tena reflection:

Each Christmas morning we would sit at the top of the stairs and get our picture taken together.  Then, we would run downstairs to the lit-up Christmas tree and begin opening gifts.  After all the gifts were open, someone would shout out the word, “STOCKINGS!”, and we would race to the fireplace in the family room to see our Christmas sock hanging from a hook on the mantle.  Inside we would find lots of treats and small treasures.  Immediately, we would take the papers that had been peeking out of the top of our stocking and find a quiet spot to read the words of love written to us by our dad.  Each year my dad faithfully put in our stockings several different poems about us that he had written.  These poems usually summarized what we were involved that year and how Dad felt about us.  They were love letters that we looked forward to reading each Christmas morning.  These poems were Dad’s words of affirmation to us on pieces of paper.  What was once a present peeking out from the top of our stocking is now a priceless gift from our Dad.  We are so thankful for the love our father gave us.  We are grateful not only for the precious memories and pictures we have of our dad, but also for the proof of his devotion found in these poems.  These poems not only fulfilled my personal need of hearing words of encouragement, but they also helped create in me a passion for writing inspiring devotionals.

Tena working at Dad's deskThis is a picture of me at four and a half years old writing at Dad’s desk trying to be just like him.

Father God, thank you for the ways our dads demonstrated love for us. May we love others as you have commanded. Amen.

Share in the comments below one or two ways your dad demonstrated his love for you and your siblings.


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