In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  Following is an example of a tribute.  Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples.

Barbara presented this tribute to her parents on Christmas Day in 1987. She says she found the time to be an emotional one for all three of them. They really liked the tribute and immediately hung it up in the kitchen, where it still hangs today.

Over the years, since that presentation, Barbara says she has found the Tribute helped to dismantle some miscommunication that had occurred in the past. It also opened up opportunities for Barbara and her parents to enjoy their relationship even more and to see a solid friendship grow between her them.

Tribute to Bob and Jean Peterson from their daughter, Barbara:

One of my most vivid and pleasant memories is of us kids watching you both work and working with you. As I look back, much of the work I remember was seasonal. With Mom I remember weeding, working, and planting flower beds in the spring. Dad supervised us when he took down storm windows, and we kids got the screens and lined them up against tree trunks to be washed, rinsed, and hung in anticipation of the warm summer days to come. In the summer, there was flower-bed maintenance and lawn work to do. I remember my job was to trim the edges of the driveway and sidewalks with the hand clippers. When fall arrived there were leaves to be raked and storm windows to be returned to their protective duty. And then, as the snows came, our shovels kept the sidewalks and driveway clean.

There were inside duties as well—like cleaning sinks and learning to wash dishes the right way. Mom taught me to sew, iron, embroider, and to finish what I started. I remember being told more than once, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Thank you for the gift of a strong work ethic from both experience and your example.

The gifts of character and common sense are now mine because of your model. I learned to value honesty, respect for my elders, and good manners. You taught me to be conservative and not wasteful, and to value quality because it would endure.

I’m thankful to you both for the gift of self-confidence. Though my self-esteem faltered during my teen years, you demonstrated that you trusted me, and I always knew you believed in me. I remember your allowing me to do a lot with Jimmy when he was a baby and toddler. I felt at times like he was mine as I fed him, rocked him, talked and played with him, and took him to a carnival with my date when he was three.

You also expressed trust by allowing me to express my creativity—at your expense! You let me decorate the house at Christmas, arrange flowers in the summer, and fix my room up the way I wanted. But the one that takes the cake is when you let me paint the bathroom fire-engine red with white and black trim—a thing I don’t think I’d let my kids do. But I’m very grateful for that expression of trust, because it gave me a greater sense of self-confidence.

Another priceless gift was the gift of a good spiritual foundation. We faithfully attended church and Sunday school as a family, and I was encouraged to attend Vacation Bible School in the summers and youth group in the teen years. I learned the central importance of God in my life. Because we were always there, I memorized many of the great Christian hymns that I love to this day.

Because you loved me you corrected my grammar, picked up my Kleenex, and you let me go: to France, to college, and to Dennis. Though many of the details are long since forgotten, I’ll always remember how proud I felt as I walked down the aisle with Dad, and you both gave me away in marriage.

The last gift I mention is in no way the least. In fact, it is probably the greatest because it is foundational to all the others. It is the example of your marriage. I cannot recall a single argument or disagreement between you. It was apparent that you loved each other, cared for each other, and liked each other. I never felt insecure or fearful that you would leave one another or get a divorce. I treasure that gift of your good, solid, happy marriage. I attribute a great deal of the success of my marriage to the example I saw in yours.

And so, in this season of giving, some 38 years after you gave me the gift of life, I give you this Tribute. With a heart of gratitude, I give you my appreciation, my admiration, and my love.

Copyright © 2004 by Barbara Rainey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.