The world can always use a little more kindness. A smile, a thoughtful word, or a simple gesture spreads good cheer.
“A good handwritten letter is a creative act, and not just because it is a visual and tactile pleasure. It is a deliberate act of exposure, a form of vulnerability, because handwriting opens a window on the soul in a way that cyber communication can never do. You savor their arrival and later take care to place them in a box for safe keeping.” — written by Catherine Field in the New York Times.
Nothing beats a handwritten note or letter. Email and texting are great for quick responses but an old fashioned letter shows someone cares plus has taken the time to think about you and care enough to sit and write a letter.
I love to get mail but the mailbox only holds bills and junk mail so when a letter — a real handwritten letter — shows up in my mailbox, I can barely contain my excitement to open it up and read what’s inside.
I have been a letter writer all my life and a note writer too — trouble is, I don’t write letters nearly as often as I once did. As a youngster I had pen pals and wrote letters to Aunts and one of my cousins.
I used to write to my mom a lot; in fact after she died and I was packing up her house, I found all the letters from me she had kept in one of her bedroom drawers! I treasure them because she treasured them.
“What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can’t reread a phone call.” ~Liz Carpenter
The beauty of a letter is that it shows you care. You took the time to put your thoughts and feelings onto paper and send it to that special someone. It’s not unlike making a gift with your own hands because it truly is a gift. The only difference is that instead of being wrapped up in a box and wrapping paper, your gift is being sent in an envelope.
And, if the thought of a letter as a gift doesn’t quite do it for you, how about this article in New York Times that sets out the science of what else is gained by writing by hand and the thought process of writing a letter, “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades.” But I’m all for the fun aspect.
Are you up for a challenge?
For anyone who wants to tackle a wee challenge … Why not challenge yourself to write three letters from the heart and send them before the weekend? Whether you use fine stationery or regular notebook paper, it does not matter. All that matters is that you actually sit down and take time to write.
Need suggestions for who you can write to?
- A relative who lives far away: tell that person about your day, what’s been going on in your world, wish them well. Maybe add a favourite memory involving that relative/friend. Don’t forget to pop in a photo or clipping out of a newspaper or magazine. These sorts of things add more interest for the person receiving your letter.
- A friend who you haven’t been in touch with for a long time: as above.
- Your child: Share with him/her how proud you are of him/her. Perhaps use some specific examples of praiseworthy choices they made.
- Write an American Soldier or to a Canadian Soldier overseas (scroll down on the linked page to see how): tell him how proud you are of him; share your day with him.
- Or maybe there’s someone you are thinking about as you read these possibilities — go for it.
- Or, perhaps you might want to start small: go get some postcards and mail a brief message to friends / family.
We all like to know others think well of us, whether it’s family or friends. You’d be surprised how much impact a small note or handwritten letter can make to someone. You may even receive a hand written note in return! Now wouldn’t that be exciting?
Send your letters as quickly as possible, while you’re still motivated. It may well become a habit.
You’ll feel so good. Heck, you can even write me.
If I haven’t convinced you, Lakshmi Pratury makes a convincing case in her short TED talk.
“To send a letter is a good way to move somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” — Phyllis Theroux