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Letter And Story To My Son For His Baptism..


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His baptism is tomorrow, and I am making a remembrance book for him today - I was hoping that you could give me your thoughts on the following - what do you think? too preachy? are there any wrong messages in it? How would you fill in the details of this story? Thank you for your help,and sorry it is such a long read.

Dear ******,

I wrote a story for **** for her baptism, and I wanted to do the same for you. The story I’ve chosen for you is a story about two brothers – an older brother, and a younger brother. I chose this story for you because you are ******’s older brother, and you are also *****’s younger brother. You are an older brother and a younger brother all wrapped up in one. This is a retelling of another story, a story that is often puzzled over, and leaves everyone a little uneasy after reading I think. The original story does not have an ending, and it does not fill in very many details, so I’ve tried to do that. It’s a rough draft, everything is always a rough draft, and if you can think of a better way to fill in the details of this story, or to bring an ending to it, I would love to hear what you think. In my mind, it’s not really a story about two different people, I think it’s really more of a story of the two halves of our self. There is part of us in each of the brothers, and there has to be some way to reconcile those two halves. It’s also a story about a family, and baptism is about joining a family with all the joys and sorrows that can entail. I love you so very much, and hope you will find peace and balance within your life as you learn how to best live with others, and how to best live with yourself.

Two Brothers.

Adapted from Luke 15:11-32.

A certain man had two sons… The oldest son was a hard-working righteous child who honored his parents and was honored by them in return. Friends and distant relatives praised his noble character and admonished their children to be more like him. He was the subject of praise and envy, of high expectations, trust, and pride.

As time went by, the man was blessed with another son. If you have lived in a family with more than one child, you already know some of the stereotypes which surround both the first born, and the baby of the family. The older children are blessed with the advantage of age and will always be a little more experienced, wise, and talented than the younger members of the family. The youngest children often compare themselves to their older, more experienced sibling without ever having the ability to quite measure up. Their older sibling gets more freedom, while those who are younger are disciplined in what they still have to learn.

Although the oldest son’s life looked blessed, free, and effortless, he was always anxious about letting others down, and living up to his reputation. He thought others would like him more if he worked and studied harder, so that is what he did. But, the older son received less attention when the younger brother was born, and his hard work was often just taken for granted instead of earning him the respect and love he thought it would. He struggled in silence trying to be content, but inside he was resentful of how little he was given for all that he did, and how much his younger brother was given for what little he did.

As time went by, the elder brother became more and more judgmental and condescending to his little brother. The older brother still did all of the right things, but now he was doing them for all the wrong reasons. Working hard and being responsible profits you nothing if your work is not done with humility and charity. The older brother had become too focused on the value of work, and his actions became a prideful self-righteous display that left the younger brother feeling rebellious and resentful. He wanted to be loved – not for what work he could do – but for himself. And so it was that one day, the younger son asked his Father for his inheritance, and left the home of his birth.

As the younger son traveled through the countryside, he took pleasure in his freedom. He was no longer compared to his older brother, or judged by his past accomplishments, but was given a fresh start to be who he wanted to be. He had been trained well by caring parents, and this background gave him many advantages in comparison with most of the other vagabonds which roamed the countryside. For the first time in his life the younger son experienced what it was to be looked up to by those around him.

The younger son loved praise and admiration, but lacked the maturity to know the difference between genuine praise, and the false praise used by robbers to get gain. There was a void in his heart where his family had once been, and the younger brother tried to fill that void with the strangers that he met. He wasted his substance with riotous living to surround himself with company, but no matter how many people he surrounded himself by, he still felt alone.

We are influenced by, and become like, those we are around. It did not take long for the younger son to become like those in the far country he found himself in. With time, he was no longer a strange new wealthy tourist worthy of attention. The younger son became a fellow citizen like everyone else. His previous fame dimmed and vanished, and praise vanished as his inheritance slipped away. Short lived pleasures had robbed him of the brighter future he could have had. And so it was, that when sickness and famine swept through the far country, the younger brother found himself alone competing with pigs for food.

“You don’t know what you have, until it’s gone” they say. With gnawing pains in his stomach, no warm bed to rest his head on, and a sad lonely heart, the younger brother thought back to the great feasts in the home of his birth. He remembered the security and comfort of being held in his parent’s arms, and the peace and strength that comes from belonging to a strong family. He now understood, through painful experience, the wisdom behind what he had been asked to do. I will arise and go to my father, reasoned the younger son, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

The younger son thought of the kindly servants whom he had grown up with. Unlike his older brother, the servants had never looked down on him. He realized how much love he had received from his nursemaid, and thought of the many acts of kindness that had been shown to him by all the humble servants. They had been there for him before, and perhaps they would not mind if he was allowed to join them again. And so it was that the younger son stood up and started walking down the road back to his home – back to the servants which he loved, to try and recapture, as much as he could, what had been lost.

It was not a servant, but his father, who first recognized and ran out to greet him as the young son neared his old home though. As a child we see our parents as parents instead of people. In that moment, the younger son started to see his father as a person – a person who had recognized the struggles of the younger son; a person who loved him enough to give him the resources and freedom to go into the world and learn those things that could not be learned at home.

“When the younger son was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Luke 15: 20-24

The older son was angry when his rebellious younger brother was given robe and ring and fatted calf. It seemed terribly unjust that anyone would play music, dance, and celebrate someone he felt should be punished for wasting their inheritance and not following the commandments. He did not recognize the pain the younger brother had experienced, or see that that his heart had been changed.

“the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7

The older son “was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:28 - 32

The younger brother had learned some hard lessons, and had gained a deep appreciation for his family that his older brother did not have.

The first year back home was marked with both joys and sorrows. A joyful reunion, but with sorrow over lost memories and an awkwardness over the lost familiarity which comes between people who have been separated for some period of time. The young son had to get to know everyone all over again. He had to make amends the best he could towards those whom he had hurt, the last of which, was his older brother.

On the anniversary of his return, after a year of hard work, the youngest brother had saved up enough to give robe and ring and his best fatted calf to his older brother. The younger honored the older with singing and dancing and feasting the likes of which no one had ever seen before. At the end of the evening, the younger brother knelt weeping in front of his older brother, asking for forgiveness for being rebellious and not listening to the advice that would have saved him so much anguish and pain. The younger brother had learned the sorrow of being alone, and was now willing to do everything in his power to win back his brother and be united with his family. The older brother took him up in his arms, forgave him, and asked the younger brother for forgiveness – for not receiving him back home with the warmth and joy he should have had, for pridefully looking down on someone he should have had love for, and for not admitting his own influence in pushing the younger brother away. He confessed his honest frustrations with life, and apologized for using his younger brother as a scapegoat. There were tears and hugs all around between friends and family, who, after a years of being together, had finally become truly united through honesty, repentance and forgiveness.

In the coming years the humble younger son became a treasured friend and confidant among those around him. No one felt embarrassed or little around him because he had made bigger mistakes than anyone else. The younger son listened to others, and when he spoke or gave advice he did so in humility through personal experience rather than merely from a book. Although forgiven, the humble younger son worked hard to repay his debt, always mindful of where other roads led. The reliable older son also worked hard and prospered through his industry and thrift, but now he worked without pride, and without the need for praise or acknowledgement. He embraced the principle of charity.

THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,

and have not charity,

I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy,

and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;

and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,

and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor,

and though I give my body to be burned,

and have not charity,

it profiteth me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1 - 3

The reliable older son was honored by all for his steadfast obedience, forgiveness, and love. The younger was honored for his humility, wisdom, and appreciation of the simple things in life. The next generation who grew up in that household never knew all the details behind a certain yearly celebration, but they did know their family was distinguished above others by the love and care which everyone had for one another.

And they all lived happily ever after!

As you go through life, you’ll find many different people who are all at different points on their journey. We all struggle with different things, and have different strengths and weaknesses. I hope that you will try not to look down on others for their weaknesses, but will learn from their mistakes, as they are also learning. No one is perfect. I find when we are honest about our own mistakes, we are less judgmental of others. I hope that none of us ever finds our self too far from home, but that if we do, we will not hesitate to come back. May you understand that it is through humble honesty, repentance, charity, and forgiveness that you can become united with your fellow brothers and sisters within the family of Christ. The biggest glory of the Celestial Kingdom, what everything is building up to, is being eternally united with the ones we love. May you choose the right and keep the commandments so that you can experience the joys that real togetherness brings is my wish for you on your baptism day. Know that I love you, and am so proud of all the good choices you are making in your life.

Edited by changed
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I'm on my lunch break, therefore not enough time to read. Very impressed that you took so much time and care into the letter, I'm sure it's beautiful!

ETA: Oh, this is so good, just got back from work and read it. I'm copying it for my children. The story of the wayward son, is such a great example to use. My mom told me a situation at her work many years ago about someone's son who was a rebellious child who partied etc. and then came around to do what he should. They had another son that had followed all the rules to a "t" , mission etc. and who was so upset at all the attention his once rebellious brother was getting, where he felt he'd gotten hardly any praise and instead of being happy for his brother he hated him. That's all she told me, hopefully the two brothers were close again.

Great letter for your son!

Edited by Tacenda
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Thank you Tacenda! I do think each of us is spends some time being a prodigal son, and some time being the good son - there are times where we have to forgive others, and times where we need them to forgive us.... It's true, we can do all the right things, but if we don't have charity then everything we do profits us nothing... and we can make horrible mistakes, but if we are refined in the fire, then "Luke 16:8...the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light."

Well, all the cookies are baked, his new little set of scriptures is all wrapped up, I'm praying that he'll feel the spirit, that this will be a special day for him, a foundation to build on as he goes through life.

Thank you again for reading that long post!

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