A wonderful example of this kind of maturity came to me in the mail the other day. It was a letter that a 75-year-old man in Louisville, Ky., had written to his 5-year-old grandson. This letter contained some great thoughts, spiritual and moral values that any concerned parent or grandparent would do well to ponder and perhaps pass along to the people they love. I hope you will find this to be of some value.
This letter begins:
“Dear John Thomas,
“I’ve waited for you a very long time and now that you are here I want to share a few things with you that are very important to me and I hope will be important to you. First, I want you to know how much I love you and what joy you have brought into my life. I won’t have to tell you this because you will know.
“When you are in pain or hurting, I’ll be there. When you struggle to find your way, I’ll be there. When you are down and feel there is no hope, I’ll be there. No, I will not have to tell you about my love for you; you will experience it every day of my life. You will be raised believing in God. This will not be forced on you, but since I was raised as a Christian, you will be exposed to Christian doctrine and how Jesus, the Son of God, was born to teach us that love is the guiding force in our lives.
“As you grow and mature, you will observe things, situations and behavior that are not consistent with the teachings of our religion. You will become aware that there are many other religions that are different from ours. Some groups have a teacher like Jesus, but are called by different names. In the East it is Buddha, in China and Japan it is Confucius, and it is Mohammad in the Arabian countries. These are only a few of the religions of the world.
“The followers of these various religions believe that their prophet or teacher, like Jesus, is the only true one. I want to encourage you to learn about these other religions. They believe theirs is the only true religion. For them, it is just as you believe in your faith and religion, there is only one God, but God has many sons. You must respect and honor their right to worship in their own way without condemnation and prejudice. Freedom of thought and expression should always be respected, accepted and honored.
“God gave us a will and it is part of our soul’s birthright to make choices. Try always to make these choices for positive outcomes. You will also see, as you grow and mature, that there are other races of people. The color of their skins is different than ours. You will hear and be told that the white race is superior. You must know that all people and races are equal in the eyes of God. You will also see that those who are different than us are many times treated badly and persecuted for these differences. This is not right or good and should not be a part of your expression of love to those that are different.
“Soon you will be in school and studying the history of our country and the world. When you read this letter I hope that we are all still here. In the years 2000-02, a major war was about to start in the Middle East. The possible extinction of the human race was [seemingly threatening] and much of the world was moving away from the spiritual side of our lives and away from God. You must know and realize that God is an integral part of our lives and without Him at our side we are like a ship at sea during a storm without power.
“During my lifetime I have seen or experienced four wars. I’ve seen prejudice, discrimination, hatred and evil destroy many countries and lives of innocent people all over the world. You personally will not be able to correct all of these injustices, but you will during every conscious moment of your life have the choice to reach out to those lives you touch who are in need and help them along life’s path. There is good and evil in this world. Edgar Caycee said, ‘The greatest evil in the hearts and minds of individuals is contention, fault finding, lovers of self, and lovers of praise because these forces separate us from God. The greatest good in the world is love, patience, kindness, forgiveness and understanding, because these forces unite us one with God.’
“I love you and encourage you to walk each day with God and practice love. You should honor God with your every thought, action and deed.
“All my love, Peepaw.”
Before I go, here is a closing thought from me. This letter is a little deeper than what I normally would share in this column. While many of the values would be the same, a letter to my grandson would be worded much differently.
Remember, the word is “maturity.”
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. He may be contacted at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway AK 72034.)