Dear Mr. Flanagan,
My older brother and I were having a continual sword fight to the death. Everyday we fought about the smallest things from who got to sit where to who did the cat like best. The duel was our family secret. Our parents' friends thought we were well behaved. Little did they know, my brother and I were fighting daily battles over everything. I had plain words to fight with; my brother had brute force. Loss was imminent to any one my age, but pride kept me in the fight, so I took in hate hoping to win.
I hated my brother because of the daily fights, and I am sure he hated me. Sometimes I would lie in bed at night wishing he or I had not ever been born. Everyday our arguments continued. Those arguments were so dumb that they hurt me to even think about them. Hatred is like a double edged sword; it tears at two people at once. Because I have had the opportunity to read your Rangers Apprentice books, I now know how to dull that double edged sword.
The first book, The Ruins of Gorlan, has changed my life. As I read about the main character and his ward mate hating each other, I realized I felt the same way about my brother. Everything my brother said felt like a sword digging deeper in my heart and I would retaliate by throwing my sword right back. As I read your book, I saw the characters change after the boar hunt because one opened up and helped the other. Now when that type of argument breaks out, I know that I could change it by helping my brother instead of myself. At that moment it also occurred to me that I could end the duel between my brother and myself. DING!!! The double edge sword was blocked with kindness.
When we hate, we block out other thoughts and it makes us unable to hear other people. My brother and I like to play with little action figures, but whenever we play at least 2 arguments break out about nothing because one of us, usually me, fails to listen. When one tries to come to the other to make things right, we ignore the other because of our resentment. Sometimes when I'm really angry with my brother, I can't even hear my mother talking to me. I just exist. I don't live. Humility, I have found, is the double edged sword's weakness. I know I need to hear my mother, my father and siblings, so that is why I'm treating them with kindness. When you realize that everyone is someone who is, or can be, a loving and a good friend instead of an enemy, you put down your sword and the duel ends.
My brother and I had not been friends because of all the small things we've fought over until that page of the book changed my look at things. The main character did one thing to change his and his ward mate actions and words for each other. Like the main character I changed to. Every day there is a tougher battle to fight with my brother, but now I can overcome them by listening with humility instead of speaking with hate.
Thank you for your help,
Ty George Turner
P.S. My brother and I look at our friendship as a gift- not just a thing to have but a true friendship. The arguments now have nearly ceased all thanks to your book series. I just wish getting along with brothers friends anybody was easier.