I knew that if we gave Joshua this Birthday book, there would have to be some rules. Or, as he pronounces it, some "rooahs."
Because, this ain't my first rodeo.
Joshua writes all the time...ALL THE TIME. Right now, he is working on a story he's convinced will be picked up by the Kendrick brothers (Courageous, Fireproof, Facing the Giants, etc), and made into their next movie. But, before he started writing his book, he wrote poems. He called them songs.
He wrote songs for people in our family, friends we knew...and sometimes he wrote them for strangers.
Some of them made no sense at all, but some of them were really poignant and beautiful. Like the one he wrote to a friend after her mom passed away...or the one he wrote for a former coach, who was facing a terminal illness. He was asked by the coach's wife to read it at his funeral.
So my mother-in-law said that I should put all of his songs/poems into a special notebook.
I spent the better part of several weeks typing all of the writing he had done. I made a "cover page" and everything. I bought "pretty" copy paper, and used a nice font. I put all the pages into one of those clear folders...like my kids used to use in school for their reports and stuff.
I presented this "book" to Joshua, and he seemed thrilled. I also printed out more of these "books," and let Joshua give them to family and friends for Christmas one year.
Not too long after that, I was up in Joshua's room one day. I noticed the folder on his desk, and thought, "awww...he loves it so much!" I picked it up to thumb through it, and that's when I saw it.
THE RED INK.
On nearly every page, he had taken his red pen, and he had "added to" or "crossed out" or written "commentary" on parts of his poems. And I know that it's his work, and I've heard how the creative mind is never satisfied and BLAH BLAH BLAH...
It was a hot mess, and I was mad.
He didn't value the time I put into it.
The time I put into it.
There's a whole lesson in all of this, and in the statement I just made. You see it, right? And I've learned it...so there's no need in spending more time on it.
But, HENCE THE ROOAHS in his Birthday Book. Because this isn't something he wrote and I printed out...these are KIND WORDS from friends and family.
So on the page AFTER the cover page. Here's what I wrote:
*Joshua: In this book, you will find letters from many, but not all, people you love. You will also find letters from many, but not all, people who love YOU. I'm sure there are people I forgot to ask about writing you a birthday letter...and that's okay. And, not everyone I asked could participate. Some people got busy. Some just forgot. Don't hold it against them. They all still love you.
(I wrote this because I know that if he got 1000 letters, he would worry about that ONE he didn't get)
*You may not remove any page from this book.
*You may not write on any page in this book.
*You may not mark over or tape over any page in the book.
*These people took time out of their day to share some kind words with you.
*Be respectful of this book.
"So each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11