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Try this new writing exercise when your child is born

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Mathilde De Robien - published on 07/09/22

The book becomes a valuable gift for your child's entire life because knowing you are loved in this way is priceless.

In her “Letter to Mothers,” Bénédicte Delelis offers a good idea for how mothers can give thanks for the gift of motherhood: keep a gratitude book for each child.

At first glance, there’s nothing really new about keeping a little notebook to record the actions of your children. Thousands of “birth books” invite conscientious parents to take note of their children’s first words, their first Christmas, and the evolution of their weight and height. This is important information, but does it bear as much fruit as this idea of a “gratitude book”?

The point of this kind of notebook is not to write down just any facts and actions, but only those that show the action of God in this child. It’s an idea that invites us to study everything that comes from God in our child’s life.

This exercise may be difficult at first, but with a little practice it’s possible to recognize the signs of God’s love manifested in each child: in a smile, a thoughtful gesture towards a brother or sister, a generous word, a particular talent.

While we can start to practice this from our children’s birth, it’s never too late to start writing in this notebook. It’s a way of praising the Lord for the gift of motherhood, but also an opportunity to write down in black and white the good and beautiful things we discover in the heart of each child, graces that it’s good for us to record and that will prove to be an invaluable treasure to offer later to the child.

Recognizing God’s grace

From the very first moment, every mother is the privileged witness of God’s grace as it unfolds in each of her children. From conception to birth, from their first steps to their first words, God is never far away, and each stage of the child’s life is an opportunity to praise Him.

In her book, which is full of sensitivity towards all mothers, Delelis, a mother and theology teacher, invites us to consider motherhood as an experience of God. It’s a royal road that leads us to meet God in the heart of daily life. Our ordinary routine could seem banal in many respects, but it becomes much less so when we take it as an opportunity to grow in faith, hope and charity.

It’s an encounter with God that involves, among other things, praise and gratitude for each child entrusted to us. Indeed, a mother, as “witness and educator of her children’s very first hours, months and years,” sees in each of her children something special: a character trait, a gift, a grace that’s unique to them … So many signs of God’s grace that need to be recognized and highlighted.

Telling the story of God’s grace

For Bénédicte Delelis, it’s important for us to bear witness, orally or in writing, to the signs of God in each child. “From the first moment, God’s grace is upon them. We have been privileged witnesses to this. It has made us cry out with joy and admiration, and we must tell them about it.”

So why not keep a book of gratitude for each of our children? A notebook in which a mother can write, over the years, the childish words of our offspring that reveal their purity of heart, their good qualities, their beautiful actions. A notebook where a mother can show all her tenderness and her gratitude to the Lord. It can then become a gift full of meaning for the child’s 18th birthday, for example!

It’s a gift with value for their entire life, in fact. Because knowing that you are loved in this way is priceless.

The story of St. Josephine Bakhita bears witness to this. Abducted at the age of 7 in Sudan, she was enslaved, raped, and tortured. The trauma was so great that it erased everything from her memory — even her first name and the name of her village. One thing remained, however: her mother’s love and her words, which were engraved deep in her heart: “You are good, you are kind.”

This certainty given to her by her mother allowed her to stand firm and resist violence during all those years of suffering and humiliation.

Yes, it is good to tell your children about the grace of God that is within them, and a gratitude book is one special way to do that.

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