I read a sweet book to my little 3-year-old last night. It is called “Daughter of a King,” and my own mother gave it to me probably 12 years ago. Inside the front sleeve I found this letter from her:
I related better to this letter as I sat holding my own little girl than I did when I originally received it. I want the same goodness for her that I could feel my mom wanted for me. I loved the surety in my mom’s voice that there is a God, a loving God, that knows me and wants me to succeed.
It made me reflect on all of the cherished letters I have received from my parents over the years. They are such a gift to me as I feel I can understand their love and concern for me at that moment in time.
I loved the thoughts from Henry B Eyring of giving the gift of writing to your children. It is geared toward college students but I felt inspired by it.
I’ve always daydreamed of being a great gift giver. I picture people opening my gifts and showing with tears of joy and a smile that the giving, not just the gift, has touched their hearts. You might have that daydream too. Many of you are probably already experts in gift giving.
There is something you could do this year to start becoming a better gift giver yourself.
He then talks about while he was teaching a class at BYU-I and encouraging his reluctant students to increase their writing skills without much success.
Then a young man stood up near the back. He had said little during the term; I’m not sure he had ever spoken before. He was older than the other students, and he was shy. He asked if he could speak. He told in a quiet voice of having been a soldier in Vietnam. One day, in what he thought would be a lull, he had left his rifle and walked across his fortified compound to mail call. Just as he got a letter in his hand, he heard a bugle blowing and shouts and mortar and rifle fire coming ahead of the swarming enemy. He fought his way back to his rifle, using his hands as weapons. With the men who survived, he drove the enemy out. Then he sat down among the living, and some of the dead, and he opened his letter. It was from his mother. She wrote that she’d had a spiritual experience that assured her that he would live to come home if he were righteous. In my class, the boy said quietly, “That letter was scripture to me. I kept it.” And he sat down.
You may have a child someday, perhaps a son. Can you see his face? Can you see him somewhere, sometime, in mortal danger? Can you feel the fear in his heart? Does it touch you? Would you like to give freely? What sacrifice will it take to write the letter your heart will want to send? Start the practice this afternoon. Go back to your room and write and read and rewrite that paper again and again. It won’t seem like sacrifice if you picture that boy, feel his heart, and think of the letters he’ll need someday.
I want to give the gift of writing to my children. I want to write my love admiration and hopes to them. I want them to know without a doubt the things that are important to me. I want them to be able to feel my love at any moment in time when they may need it. I want my letters to be a comfort, to chase away fear, to give confidence, to give security. I want to write to my children.
Whenever I am home I love to time travel by reading my dad’s journals. He also gave me the gift of writing. He provides such insight into our family through writing that now as an adult I can understand. I love running across his goals, parenting tips, or just the cute things that I said when I was 4.
I want my kids to run across letters like this one that my sister wrote to her daughter. We have our valentines mail boxes all set up. I am going to try to make an effort to leave messages from my heart for my kids.