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Dear Jake and Josh,
When you were little, I had grand plans about writing to you every birthday. The letters would be heartfelt, pieces of me, which you would always cherish and share with your children. "These are grandma's words of wisdom," you would say.
Well, that never happened. It wasn't because I had nothing to say (although I'm sure you already know that). It was that my heart was always so full, experiencing your baby "firsts", that I could never put the all the words down on paper only one time a year.
So I bought a journal. I would write down a few words describing something you did and record it throughout the year. Reading through it recently, a few nuggets came to mind that will be important for you during the rest of your "firsts". Growing up is hard work but your dad and I have been there and we will walk you through it. Here's our top five:
1) Use your sense of humor to pull you through the tough times. Being able to laugh at yourself and not take every situation too seriously will help you know when to let things slide off your back.
2) Remember that you are brothers forever. You may irritate and annoy each other now but in 10-15 years you will be best friends. The opinion of your brother will matter more to you than anyone else's. You will grow old together and show your families what love is all about.
3) Always treat girls with respect, even when they are mean. Just as you do your sister. It's better to walk away than to say or do something that will have a lasting consequence for your future.
4) Be humble. Humble confidence is an endearing quality to have and will help you be a leader that encourages others, shows kindness and often works behind the scenes without needing the spotlight.
5) Use the talents that have been gifted to you to be of service to others. Approach every task with a servant's heart. Boring, mundane and difficult tasks will test your faith and endurance, but if you ask "what can I do to help?" it will change your perspective.
Your father and I will always have your back. Mistakes will be made, that I guarantee, but we will help you through them and love you no matter what. I hope that you will tuck these anecdotes away to use when you need them most and remember, no matter how old you are I will be there for all of your "firsts".