Happy Birthday! You are thirteen years old today - an official teenager. This is such a great time in your life. As your grandma I sure have enjoyed watching you grow up and become such a fine young man.
A few months ago I watched you perform a piano solo at your recital. I was so proud of you because you did something hard. Hours of practice and persistence made it possible for you to perform well. I think learning to play the piano is a lot like learning to become a loving person. With the piano, you start out as a beginner and learn one musical concept at a time. With life, you start out as a baby and learn as you grow. With the piano, first you learn how to read music and then begin playing simple one finger songs. With life, you learn to walk and speak before you can sing and run. With the piano you make slow gradual progress over time and if you don’t give up eventually you can play beautiful concertos. With life, you make slow gradual progress over time and if you don’t give up eventually you will become a strong, kind and compassionate man.
What if we tried to learn to play the piano without making mistakes? That wouldn’t work very well would it? Mistakes are part of learning to play the piano. Mistakes are also part of learning how to become a loving person. Mistakes are part of the process of growing. If you don’t get discouraged and keep trying you will keep improving. Sam, you get to choose what kind of man you want to become. You simply choose who you want to be and then start practicing. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make along the way as long as you don’t give up and keep trying.
I’m giving you some music for four hands. They are called duets. Learning to play a duet takes a special set of skills. That is why many piano teachers require their students to learn a duet. Learning to play music with another person requires that they practice together and learn to discern subtle clues from each other about starting and stopping and how to measure time in the same way. Duets are a lot like striving to develop a loving relationship with another person. Love is not something we give or get. Love is something that two people decide to grow and nurture between them. Both people have to want to grow in love together before this can happen. It works the same way with our relationship with God and our Savior. They always want to grow in love with us but they are patient and wait until we are ready.
In the same way you have regular piano lessons each week where you demonstrate to your teacher that you had been practicing, be sure to report to your Heavenly Parents on your knees in prayer. Talk about your day and what you’ve learned as you try to become more like them. Your Heavenly Parents are the best teachers in the universe. Remember to schedule regular lessons with them. This is called prayer and meditation.
As you live your life, you will make heavenly music for others to hear by the way you treat them. Your love and kindness will let them know how the love of God feels. Your friendly bright personality will brighten the day for all those around you. Someday the sum total of your deeds of goodness will be your masterpiece – your literal song in the night. God will use your light and goodness to spread love to all those around you as you share your bright and happy melody of love.
Sam, I have enjoyed watching you grow up for the past thirteen years. When I think of you I always smile and feel warm inside. I so enjoy seeing your smiling face come through my front door. I love your passion for life and joy for living and learning. You have an amazing mind and a joyful spirit. I will always be your biggest fan.
With great love,