The Importance of Writing Letters

The Importance of Letter WritingA couple of weeks ago, I encouraged you to get your children involved in a pen pal exchange so they could discover the joy of writing letters and receiving them in the mail. (I’m still taking participants, by the way.) These kids may know the feeling of getting a birthday card in the mail, but when was the last time they got a personal handwritten note? If they did get one, say from a grandparent, did they respond accordingly? Children these days (I sound like an old fogey, but I’ve never masked the fact that I’ve been one since the age of 5) don’t communicate in writing. No one does. That’s why the US Postal Service is billions of dollars in debt.

But, adults remember what it’s like to send and receive personal letters. They remember the enjoyment of picking out stationary that matches their personality. Someone’s stationary said as much about them as the words written on it.

Most of us have moved on to other media. We email, text, Skype, and call our family and friends who don’t live near us. We keep up with our loved ones through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Who is left behind? Seniors. Those special people in our lives who have meant so much to us over the years. They have built memories for us, looked after us, taught us valuable life lessons. Yet, we fall out of touch with them because they don’t have the Internet. I’ve heard people make fun of seniors who do attempt to get a computer and are confused by the technology. I know of children and grandchildren who strong arm their elders to get a computer just so they can keep in touch. Now, those retired folks on a fixed income have a monthly Internet bill they don’t need and an expensive purchase. Just because the family doesn’t want to pick up the phone or write a letter.

Although I’m not a senior, I have felt this void. I was the last person on Earth to get Internet service to my house, so I completely fell out of touch with some friends because I couldn’t email frequently. Then, when everyone stopped using email and went to Facebook messaging, I lost touch with more friends because I wasn’t on Facebook. “Oh, I don’t check email anymore” they’d say. My sister would tell me “So-and-so had a baby” or “so-and-so has three kids now.” I got tired of not knowing anything about people I grew up with, so I created a Facebook account. Now, I miss out on some things because I don’t have a Smartphone, so I don’t have Instagram or Twitter.

I’ll always be a step behind because I’m not going to buy a bunch of gadgets or enter into contracts that give me a bill I don’t need or can’t afford. Our seniors feel the same way. Write them a letter.

I recently found a new blogger friend, Crystal Horton, through Pinterest. She is a life coach and family strategist who specializes in promoting “a greater sense of work-life balance while also opening up deeper levels of communication within the family unit.” She offers her services satellite, so I encourage you to check out her site for a free 30-minute consultation! (I was not compensated to endorse Crystal, just really liked her blog posts and wanted to let my readers know about her awesome services!)

Crystal wrote a post titled Pen Pals, where she talks about how writing letters to her hearing-impaired grandfather has become such a blessing in his life and has returned communication to their relationship. People who know me know I have a special place in my heart for seniors and this post makes me tear up every time I read it.

What relationships do you have that could be improved through letter writing? And, it’s not just seniors. It could be a cousin who lives off the grid. An aunt who retired to Europe. An out-of-area friend who can’t afford Internet or a fancy cell phone. Everyone appreciates a thoughtfully-written letter.

Anyone of any age loves getting a letter in the mail. Another new blogger friend of mine, Crystal at Tidbits of Experience, who I met through my Kids Pen Pal Exchange post, wrote a post asking people to “Come Be Her Pen Pal“. She writes letters so often, she even got special return address labels printed with her blog logo on them (discount code contained in the blog post if you want to order your own return address labels!).

See! Letter writers DO still exist! Become one! Write to Crystal or a friend or family member. Have your kids join my Pen Pal Exchange. Rekindle those relationships. Make new ones. Let’s go old school!

 

Mailbox image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

12 thoughts on “The Importance of Writing Letters

  1. Pingback: Discover a Love of Writing Thank You Notes - The Wellness Wife

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  3. runawaybridalplanner

    Great post! I love writing letters, but don’t do it often enough! Darn texting and email really get in the way on that! It really is important to write letters, I’ve kept any “meaningful” letter anyone has ever sent me, but I can’t say the same for emails!

  4. Chris-Ellyn

    About three years ago I had “write it out Wednesday” (the folder is labeled WOW on my computer). It started as a way for me to journal about life. Early in the process I thought my far-away friends might enjoy reading these entries, so I started to personalize them to three different friends from three different eras of my life. (Yes, there was cut-n-paste involved, but I know none of them would mind.) I wrote to the three of them every Wednesday for a long time. Sometimes it was a lengthy letter, sometimes it was a card or another short note. One week I even wrote a bulleted list on a post-it note and sent that! It was the communication, over the content that was important. I stopped about a year ago; around the time my FIL passed. Your post has inspired me to get back into the habit of my Wednesday letters. Thanks!

  5. Crystal Horton

    Receiving letters in our household is like opening a birthday present. Complete bliss! We love connecting with others through the mail. Not only has it taught my children how to build a friendship with a good ol’ fashioned pen and paper but it has encouraged them to learn how to send a well written thank you note.

    1. Lisa Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Crystal! Unfortunately, thank you notes seem to have become less and less prevalent. It’s great that your children are mastering the art of a nice, personal message.

  6. Dawn Muir

    I could not agree more. I have a friend of my Mom’s at her church that writes cards to church members as a way of encouragement. She is in her late 80s but she makes sure to write cards once a week. She started sending me cards after my divorce and I have tried very hard to return each card with a note of my own. She recently told my Mom she loved being able to reconnect with my after all these years. I know personally I love to write thank you notes and other short notes to family and friends. I feel like it lets them know I am thinking about them when I take the time to write a note.

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