As children, many of us mothers remember being sat down and made to write out thank you cards, letters to grandmothers, birthday invitations, and much more. Handwriting, spelling, and presentation were crucial, and though as children we squirmed over our work, looking back on these efforts is a fond, feminine, and fulfilling memory.
In the age of email and text messaging however, something is getting lost in translation. Our children don’t heave sighs over botched ink, or hurry to look up spelling of words in dictionaries. In fact, with all the IM jargon out there, they can’t even be bothered to write complete sentences!
And truth be told, we mothers aren’t much better. Rather than write out baby shower thank you cards, baptism invitations, or love letters to our husbands, we are quick to zip out a quick email or e-card and call it a day.
But a recent New York Times article called “Write Grandma a What?” has got me thinking about the loss of letter writing, and as a result, a loss of precious tradition and written heirlooms. As the article states, an email, however eloquent, is generally deleted after reading, or tucked away in some invisible folder that will inevitably be forgotten. For people who grew up writing letters: during wars, to overseas relatives, to commemorate birthdays and social occasions, they know how precious those self-inscribed words have become over the years. Letters can become the last memento from a deceased relative, a historical relic from a war, a treasured keepsake from a fabulous wedding, or a special piece of romance from you and your husband’s courting days.
Let’s get back to the days when creativity, penmanship, decorum, and punctuation matter. Let’s take the time to teach our kids the importance of letter writing, even as a supplement to necessary technology skills. Most of all, let’s involve our kids in the tradition of letters, and all the memories, discipline, and sincerity such a tradition inspires.
Here are a few ideas on how to make this happen:
- Help your kid make home mail boxes and write letters to each other.
- Give them creative books of calligraphy and alphabets.
- Have letter writing Sunday where they each write a letter to a relative, their local congressman or their favorite cartoon character.
- Sign them up for a pen pal program in another country.
- Make an occasion of it when a reply letter arrives, taking turns reading paragraphs around the dinner table.
- Supply them with creative stamps, stickers, confetti and more to make letter writing more fun.
- Post a list of family addresses on the fridge or the office where kids can easily get to them.
- Take turns going to check the mail.
Don’t be surprised if spending this time with your kids, even an hour a week, helps you to write out that thank you card you’ve been meaning to send, send out a get well message to sick church member, or finally mail that letter to your sister-in-law in Virginia, thanking her for all her correspondence.
Taking time to write these letters will instantly transport you to a gentler, more gracious, Jane Austen-like time. You will feel like a kinder and more in control mother, and your kids will benefit greatly from this enjoyable pastime.
Because at momAgenda, we are committed to tangibly promoting precious family time, both through products and inspiration, we are pleased to announce not only suggestions on how to promote letter writing in your family, but a great new line of stationary designed to get the pen moving. Check out our gorgeous line of 4 by 6 stationary note cards, perfect for scrawling a sweet note that doesn’t demand a novel’s worth of words! Each cards come with a set of eight with envelopes included. Pretty spring colors like sky blue, buttercream, sage green, cream and blush contribute to this refined pastime, and the inspirational quote and illustration only add to the fun! With stationary this beautiful, you’ll barely need to write a thing. Your ready-made heirloom is just waiting to be sealed and sent. As always, momAgenda is working overtime to provide you with the products and ideas you need to become an effortlessly elegant mother, with a more educated, entertaining, and enjoyable family life. With our new line of stationary, I think we’ve done just that!