Birthday Report Card
September 1990

“Birthday Report Card,” Ensign, Sept. 1990, 69

Birthday Report Card

What made my seven-year-old grandson pause to read a birthday card—without being prompted—before he tore into the wrappings on a birthday present? I became even more curious when he continued to read beyond the few seconds usually devoted to cards and began to smile broadly as he exchanged glances with his mother. Neither said a word, but his happiness was almost tangible as he put the card down gently.

Later I learned what my daughter Valerie had written in the card:

“Dear Brent,

“You had a great year: Sister Heckroth and Brother Sheets for Primary teachers, Mrs. Luwe for a great first-grade teacher. You learned to swim with strong arms. You became an even better reader—one of your best talents. You sang a duet with Brett in “Primarily Kids” and performed in the Primary magic show—the old carrot trick. You went off a jump on your bicycle and did a lot of push-ups at Cubs. [He participated in one of his older brother’s den activities.] You learned to take Steven out of his crib and made your home happy with your smiles.


“Mother and Dad.”

I discovered that Valerie had adapted the idea from counsel she had heard a temple sealer give to a couple he was about to marry: “Remember anniversaries. Even if you can’t afford a present, write a message recording some of the good events and happy memories of the year.”

By following this advice, in a few specific words Valerie had reinforced Brent’s respect for his teachers at school and Primary; encouraged his reading, swimming, and bicycling skills; and emphasized his importance as a big brother and a happy member of the family.—Beth C. Paullin, Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Photography by Steve Bunderson