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The Gift of Heartfelt Sentiment

Updated on March 15, 2011

I got the most amazing letter just the other day from my young nephew that really brought a smile to my face. It's one of those special things in life that you just can't get from anything else, or from anywhere else. Interestingly, there was no special occassion for the letter. My birthday is not until June 1st, and so it wasn't for that. There is no Uncle's Day that I can see anywhere on my calendar, so it wasn't for that. I don't even think that there was any intention whatsoever on the part of my nephew for me to even read the letter.

Scribbled on the back of a picture that came along with the letter that is supposed to be me, my sister wrote;

"James, I was going through Ian's school papers and found this. Thought you would like to have it."

She could not be more right.

You know, we grow up and become adults and life becomes very cut and dry. We look through a very different set of eyes as adults than when we were kids growing up without a care in the world. We forget about the wonder and the amazement that the world presented to us then.

Everything is fun and new in the eyes of a child.

Not that we don't find the time to appreciate things in life as adults, nor that we lack the ability to be amazed by things we see in the world, or by the things we learn or discover. Just that we see it on a different level than a child does. As adults, we have a higher expectation from our experiences. It's harder to be amazed and impressed.

So, when you sit and show your nephew a couple things on a guitar you just chalk it up as a little bit of quality time. When you set down a plate of spaghetti riddled with meatballs in front of a kid, you say to yourself, "that was nice." You don't consider the impact of just a few minutes. You don't comprehend the makings of an experience. And, you really have no idea what your time means.

Until a very special letter arrives in the mail with a portrait attached to it.

The letter says I'm a hero. To me, I'm just an uncle who enjoys the company of his niece, and two nephews—which will soon be three nephews, by the way, later this year. They are great kids. Who wouldn't want to hang out with them? And my niece? Wow. She can sing. She can act. If I could have a couple of my own just like them, I'd not think twice about it.

It is from a moment like this, and from a letter like this, that I am reminded of how special life is, and how amazing life can be. It is the simple things we take for granted when we grow up. We think in terms of fancy cards, toys that wow, and boquets of flowers.

Often times in it all, we forget about the gift of heartfelt sentiment. It is, by far, the greatest gift of all, and is as irreplaceable, and as genuine as things can be.

How amazing is it to be someone's hero for a day? Awesome if not a bit humbling.

The letter:

My Hero

My uncle is my hero because he cares about me. A hero to me is a loving and kind person that cares about you. He taught me how to play guitar, he cooks awesome food, and he takes me places.

My uncle taught me how to play guitar when I went to Wisconsin. He taught me how to play Wild Thing. He also taught me which string is which. After that I taught myself how to make my own song. Me and my uncle enjoy playing the guitar.

My uncle cooks awesome food! At night time when we go over in the summer, he cooks steak. His steak is juicy and good. He also cooks spaghetti. His spaghetti is saucy and good.

My uncle takes me lots of places. He takes me to my great grandpa's house. We have reunions there. He also takes me to good restaurants. He buys there. I like the places he takes me to.

I had a lot of fun going to these places, playing guitar, and eating food. My uncle had fun too. I hope we can do it again.

Gets me every time.

And for the record are my hero too. To all of my sister's kids: uncle thinks you guys rock!


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    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks for the great comment. I just hope I can continue to live up the little guy's expectations. :)

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      This is such a wonderful story. We are so often unaware of how even the simplest, smallest things, can be magical to a child. Or destructive. The ability to relate to children well and positivily is a wonderful characteristic, and you sure have it!

      Love and peace


    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Spanking and bad parenting are far removed from one another, and that's why any study that only looks at spanking is flawed IMO. There is a much larger dynamic that plays into a kid's becoming violent. Excessiveness of anything is never a good thing. Take a look at the correlation between religious fanaticism and serial killers. Corporal punishment, administered with common sense principle and proper rearing is absolutely effective. Too often studies in the spanking issue try and lump together child abuse. Spanking is NOT child abuse and therefore the results of any such study get skewed. I was spanked as a kid and while my sister not as much as I, we both turned out fine. I have one cousin in particular that could have used a good whooping or two, and he still to this day terrorizes his mother, nor does he have any respect for her. He's terribly irresponsible as well. My Aunt was one of those who thought it was better to reason with a child than to raise him as a parent and punish when he did wrong. Now he either doesn't know right from wrong, or has no fear of any consequence from doing wrong things.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 

      9 years ago from Western Australia

      Dear Springboard, what a great article about the pure kid's love...and also big thanks for answering my question about spanking and the most chilling words on hub pages...although I disagree with you I admire your honesty...I work daily with students with behavioural problems, majority of them comes from broken homes where violence is the way of life, in their spare time they like to play violent games because it is something they understand and experience...they end up in jails and their violent cycle of life just goes on and on...

      The kids in my care are not spoiled brats who are cuddled and handled softly /those kids are in private expensive schools/...they are spanked daily for no reason /and not only spanked../

      As a volunteer I work with kids of refugees and migrants who know all horrors of war...I would like to share a poem about a refugee and a story of my previous student, a refugee from Kosovo if you have time to spare...just to see my point of view...

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Maita, come to think of it, we SHOULD have an official Uncle's day, no? The letter and the picture certainly made me very happy that day. :)

      Poet, So true that we need children. They never cease to amaze me. There is such an innocense and cavalierness (is that a word?) to them. Wish I could think of the name of that movie. Hmmm.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I want you to be my uncle, and teach me to play the guitar. If a child says you are a hero then you truly are, i believe it..... Reminds me of the film... and now i cannot remember the title. Jack Nicholson, answers an add and adopts a little boy in Africa. The happiest moment of his life, is when he receives a letter from this child. It is sobering. We need kids more than they need us, i am convinced of that. Always lovely to hear that someone takes time to get to know young children in the family..... absolutely beautiful hub, glad i stopped by.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      9 years ago from US

      oh that is sweet, heartfelt sentiments, and to be called a hero, you must have shed tears. if you were called a hero in the eyes of a child who knows what real is, that is great. Why dont we have Uncles Day? hehe.

      You could be a great Father, Thank you for this one, it is heartfelt, Maita

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      ...and great to have great kids to hopefully be role models for. :) Great to see you as always, Habee.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Wonderful! It's so important for kids to have great role models and to feel loved!

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Itakins, so true. We take a lot for granted as adults. Kids offer a wonderful reminder of the little things in life that mean so much.

      Reddog, family is the best. :) Thanks for stopping by.

    • reddog1027 profile image


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      A thoroughly enjoyable hub. There is noting better than family.

    • itakins profile image


      9 years ago from Irl

      A gorgeous hub! What a nice little boy too.We are inclined to forget the influence we have on kids!

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Saddle, yeah I was actually very impressed with his artistry. He takes after his Mom and his grandpa —my sister and my dad both could draw rather well. As well, he's got a great sense of humor, so that would go hand in hand with cartooning if it were to be something that interested him.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Hello Hello, glad to have it to share. It really made my day when I got that in the mail.

      Pamela, he is. He's a VERY special little guy and I have to be the luckiest uncle.

      Sheri, so true. It's funny how we think of things as adults...we forget how precious everything is to a child. ESPECIALLY our time and attention.

      Billy, I've got the letter tucked away. :)

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Tom and Sheila, thanks for stopping in and commenting. :)

      Feline, I loved that line. lol. That kid cracks me up. :)

      BJBenson, of course I am biased, but I think my sister is wonderful as a mother. With the 4th on the way she loves kids...I guess she HAS to. lol

      Carolina, the luckiest. Great to see you.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Ralwus, great to see you. Yes, it's almost a spitting image, no? :)

      Lorlie, yes. I almost look very serious in the portrait. Must be my strong stand on political issues. Thanks for stopping in a commenting.

      POP, I cannot disagree. :)

      Katie, yes I do. She's a great sister as well.

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      9 years ago

      It's a great feeling to be loved, your nephew has shown this in his heart warming gesture to his Uncle. The impressions we leave with our kin folk will be a legacy for us. He also is a talented artist, heading for a career as a possible cartoonist. Thanks for the share, it brought a tear.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      9 years ago

      What a wonderful family memory that will always be with you - a great story that you must be justly proud of.

    • SheriSapp profile image


      9 years ago from West Virginia

      thank you for sharing this. I work as a teacher, and I know that sometimes kids really just need a sympathetic adult ear to listen. We don't realize the gift of our time and how important it can be. You are a loved and lucky man.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Springborad, That was a very heart touching hub, and to be loved and admired by a child is fantastic. For him to have written that letter you have made a lifetime impression on him. He sounds like a very special little boy. Great hub.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      This was wonderful and thank you for sharing.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      You're a lucky uncle, and he's a lucky kid!

    • BJBenson profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      I'm so happy for you. My nephew and nieces only think of me as the aunt that sends them neat stuff from my travels. In other words I think your sister is doing something right too. To raise a son that loves his uncle. You are a lucky guy!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      9 years ago

      What a wonderful story! And what a great compliment - your spaghetti is saucy and good! :)

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      9 years ago

      A letter like that had to bring tears to your eyes.

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 

      9 years ago from Moundsville, WV

      Great hub and great kids and uncle congrats!!!!!!!!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      9 years ago

      Beautiful hub. I think you are all very fortunate to have each other.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      9 years ago from Westerville

      WOW your nephew is a wonderful artist, great in fact. There's a boy in my eleven year old daughters Language Arts class, who sets beside her and draws these amazing drawings, he gives many to her, looks like your nephew is a great artist and has honored you as a subject, muse, you owe your sister a big hug for taking the time to mail that to you! Great moment thanks for sharing. Peace :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      9 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

      What a wonderful treasure! I must concur with ralwus' assessment of your portrait-love your eyes in particular.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub and it's nice to be loved like that. He has done a great job on your portrait too. Thanks for sharing this, a nice reminder of how we can have a good impact on the wee ones who look for heroes.


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