I have begun to get more and more interested in hope chests as my daughter approaches her teen years. Having grown up with very different ideas about preparing for adulthood, this is foreign territory for me. Where do we begin? What do I include? Where did the tradition of a hope chest start? At just the right moment, I learned of The Hope Chest: A Legacy of Love by Rebekah Wilson. Mrs. Wilson's book is filled with detailed answers to my questions, and much more.
She discusses the history of the hope chest, and what different generations considered essentials for starting a home. If you cannot buy any fabric, let alone clothing, you need all the equipment necessary for making thread, weaving fabric, and sewing clothing. In years past, seeds were carefully saved and passed along to those moving to new places. What comfort familiar flowers must have been to those that were so far away from their families. The theme is two-fold. Many of these items were essential to survival, but there were also a connection to family roots and a reminder of loved ones. That is Mrs. Wilson's emphasis: there is a cost in stocking a hope chest for our children, but, it is the memories, the special skills, the reminders of the bonds of love in the family, that make a hope chest far more special than a way to set up house or a lovely piece of furniture.
Included in this volume are ideas of what to include in a hope chest. These range from family heirlooms, to special books (a family bible or a favorite children's story), candlesticks, recipes, family pictures or scrapbooks, linens and household items, and more.
Beyond the physical items in the chest, memories are important investments to make in our families. Mrs. Wilson reminds us that, "Memories are hidden treasures stored within our hearts, and often during the hardest times in our lives, we dig down and pull those special memories out to help get us through." Finding ways to record memories will allow us to include them in our children's hope chests, but just taking the time to make memories is a gift in itself.
I like Rebekah Wilson's attitude toward the whole process of preparing children for the future. She is not being materialistic, or taking a sentimental step back to fictional, happier times. This is a book that reminds us of our purpose for raising children - we are preparing children to be adults and to have homes of their own. She is encouraging us to use our time together, as our children are growing up, to store up things, and to develop skills and knowledge, that will be of good use in adulthood.
To order The Hope Chest: A Legacy of Love, you may see Mrs. Wilson's website, www.HopeChestLegacy.com, or call them at 1-888-554-7292. There you will also find helpful links, and more information that can speed you on your way to preparing a hope chest for someone you love.
So, whether you are committed to preparing a hope chest for your daughter, or if you are just curious about the idea and need some inspiration, Rebekah Wilson's book is a great resource. I can see our family putting aside favorite books from childhood, adding each child's photo album, and pulling out my mother's old recipe book to copy out recipes from the many generations of my family. We are all excited to make this a priority in our family.