When I write to my grandchildren of nearly the same age, sometimes I cut and paste some sections. Of course I change things around to meet the needs of each child. Maybe it's cheating; maybe it's not. Anyway, when three children are only 12 weeks apart they have a lot in common. I sometimes want to say the same things to them.
It was so nice to see you last month. You are growing into such a fine young man. I was so impressed with your good manners and winning smile. AND I was so happy to learn you’ve given up temper tantrums. They are so exhausting. When I was a little girl, I threw terrible temper tantrums. Tantrums are a hard to break, bad habit. But it seems you were strong enough to throw out that bad habit. My parents thought a bad temper was something you are born with and keep until you die.
Lucky for Papa, Grandma Conrad didn’t go along with that idea. When he was five or six, he had a typical childish tantrum. Afterwards, Grandma Conrad said. “You know, Joey, everyone gets mad, but not everyone throws a tantrum. It’s a choice. You have to make up your mind if you are going to be ruled by your temper or if you are going to rule it.” That made a huge impression on him, and he quit having tantrums. I didn’t learn to stop the tantrum thing until I was a mommy.
I learned during Sunday School that we have free agency to control our emotions and behavior. Sure I had learned before about free agency before, but this teacher attached that idea to our behaviors and characteristics. I’m not sure how she said it, but she helped me understand for the first time in my life that my behavior was controlled by choice. It wasn’t controlled by something I was born with. It has been hard to retrain myself not to react with anger and rudeness. With Jesus’ help, I learned to choose just like the scriptures said I could.
I’ve been reading a lot lately. I’ve always loved to read, but somehow got out of the habit. I like stories very much. In addition to reading, I’ve been researching genealogy and discovered some interesting things. Several of my family lines and Grandma Conrad’s Mark line go back to
European royalty. In my family, there is even a famous Native American chief, named Squirrel Chief King. And you know, my family history is your family history. Squirrel Chief King was a Chickasaw chief living near what is now Augusta, Georgia. Can you find that on a map? These famous ancestors don’t make us more special than the next person. After all some of those people were not known as gentle, charitable rulers and were down right ruthless. However, I’m very curious to learn their stories as family members instead of some forgotten person in a history book.
It was so much fun to do homework with you and listen to you read. You are getting to be quite a good reader. With such smart parents, you shouldn’t have much trouble in school. However, some things will likely take more effort than others. Don’t worry about that. We aren’t afraid to do hard things. In fact we know if something is hard and we work through it, we are training our brains to be even smarter. What do you think about that? So, if something is sorta hard, just be patient with yourself and keep moving forward with it. There is nothing quite as important to a good education and a rewarding life than the ability to conquer difficulties. Ninjas do this all the time.
Because I know how important it is to gaining a love of reading, I started sending you all lots of books. When I was a little girl, my mother didn’t read to me. I had the three books: Rumplestiltskin, Snow White/Rose Red, and a book about animals. In first grade I learned to read easily but had no reason to pursue it. I didn’t know how fun getting lost in a long story could be. Later, when I was in seventh grade, some girls from orchestra befriended me. They were all in the gifted program, while my grades were only average. Adopting my parents’ apathy toward school, I just didn’t care. Anyway, they all read lots of books including The Hobbit. They talked me into reading The Hobbit, and I became hooked on reading. I hope you read The Hobbit some day; it’s so wonderful. After I got hooked on reading, my grades got much better. So…I guess you can see why I think reading is so important and why I send you so many books. I love learning new things and getting lost in stories.
It’s so fun to get pictures of you doing things you love. How exciting that you are in Ninja training now with your karate lessons. I absolutely loved learning karate especially flying side kicks. When you dressed up as an old man for 100 day, you were so funny. I liked seeing you in Grandpa Conrad’s hat. How special that you got to wear your great grandfather’s hat. AND seeing you dressed up in all your armor was fun, too. Thanks for asking Mommy to take and send pictures. It makes me feel more like I’m with you. Both of us miss you very much.
We've been attending church on the island, where we served our mission. If you remember, I taught Primary there in addition to my mission. The children in my class are a year older than you, and we became very close over the 17 months I taught their class. It was so fun to see them, just like it was fun to see you, S, and your cousins in January. We can love people and stay in touch, even when we don't see each other very often.
Well, Q, Papa and I love you very much. We hope you choose to work hard in school even if something is a bit difficult or puzzling. We pray that you will have an innocent, healthy, happy, safe, scholarly, loyal, obedient, and gospel-strong childhood. Choose friends that help you choose the right, since a true friend would never ask you to do, say, or think anything naughty. Be kind and generous with your sister, because she will be your true friend your whole life and throughout eternity. Be obedient and loving with your parents; it means so much to them when you do what you should. They love you more than you will ever know until you are a daddy some day. Don't ever forget that they love you, we love you, Heavenly Father and Jesus love you, and all in your family love you. That's a lot of love. Read your scriptures, say your prayers, and help mommy and daddy with family home evening, because Elder Richard G. Scott said they are special tools. “These…tools are fundamental habits for responding to…[Jesus’] invitation to ‘come unto Him.’ The more we develop these habits, the more anxious is Satan to harm us but the less is his ability to do so. Through the use of these tools, we exercise our agency to accept the full gifts of His atoning sacrifice.”
Love Ya Lots!