Create a personal planner for your loved ones (and for yourself).


Last week I received the most sweet email ever. It came from my dad, who is 70 years old and rarely uses a computer. My father is a man who doesn’t talk easily about emotional stuff. Every year for his birthday he asks for very practical stuff, like a new set of tennisballs, soap on a string or an agenda/planner for next year (his birthday is at the end of december). So last year, I bought him his agenda for 2012. A very plain/ boring one. But I decided to make it personal by writing the birthday’s of his children and grandchildren in it. Then I added some nice quotes I find inspiring. And I put in some questions, like “What inspired you this week?” or “What are the things that make you happy?” or “What are your personal most important values?” and even instructions, like 13-2: although Valentines Day is a commercial inititative, mum would appreciate a small gift or some flowers anyway” or “Call Mike (my partner) to remind him it’s Valentines Day tomorrow”. Also I reminded him on some day’s that I love him and am grateful to have him as my dad. 

The email I received was sending in his ‘homework’ of last year. He had taken the questions very seriously and appreciated it very much. He ended his email by saying “I know this will take some effort/time from you, but I would very much like to have such a planner for next year”. 

Apparently I have found a way to connect to my father in a personal way, by using his planner as a tool. 


1) Do you have a good friend or relative that you feel close to, but don’t see or speak to that often. You can give them this present of a personal planner.

2) You can make such a personal planner for yourself, and remind yourself during the following year about things that matter to you.


With enthusiasm,

Annemarie Steen

2 responses to “Create a personal planner for your loved ones (and for yourself).

  1. What a fabulous idea, AnneMarie!

    I did a scaled down version of this for each of my two children who have already gone off to college. One is 24 hours away from home and the other 6…

    I wanted a way to let them know I was thinking of them, without them feeling like I was “checking up” on them.

    I purchased each of them a day planner before they left and tucked it inot their things. On differnet pages I attached little post-it notest on which I’d written little love notes, whimsical comments, phone-home reminders, and encouragement for upcoming exams.

    For my daughter, who has struggled with school, I attached a four-leaf clover I found in our yard with a note that she was her own four-leaved clover.

    I know they appreciated it because my I found one of the notes stuck on my son’s activity board when we went to visit…

    So glad you have found a way to connect with your father on an emotional level! What a special joy!!!

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