Lost art of letter writing

Posted by Annie on Aug 31, 2010 in Parenting, Young Authors |

I have come to the conclusion that our children  are really missing out on an age old tradition. What ever happened to the lost art of letter writing?

I have fond childhood memories of many letter exchanges, which took place over the span of many years between my grandmothers sister and her daughter and I. Grandma Patrick lived in Ohio, she wrote weekly letters to her sister (Aunt Minnie), who lived in Arkansas. Both have gone to be with Jesus and I miss them sorely.

Aunt Minnie had a daughter, Freda, who was pretty close to my father (they were cousins), so when grandma would sit down to write Aunt Minnie, she would offer me pen and paper, so that I could write a letter to Aunt Freda (she always felt like an aunt to me, though it was an honorary title). I looked forward to reading each letter and saved them to read again and again. Sadly, none of them remain today.

I try to sit down occasionally even to this day, to compose a handwritten letter to a treasured loved one, in hopes that someday I will receive a response. Kids today  simply have bad manners, are  too busy,  too irresponsible or just plain lazy, and I’m not sure which. It could even be a combination of things.

Our children are too young to realize that they won’t have fond  childhood memories  of playing video games. What they will remember most is the time they spend with friends and family.

Sure Facebook and Twitter are terrific. I simply love sending off blasts to share things that are important to me and it allows me to check in on my friends, without having to feel guilty about not responding. After all, if someone takes the time to write you a letter, the polite thing to do is to respond, even if briefly.

I think Facebook has a huge potential to hinder real communication, including letter writing. Have you seen what passes for writing these days? My son gets so used to using poor language skills that it was difficult to get him to use proper capitalization in his sentences. Emails fill my Inbox with poorly written notes, comments without punctuation, capitalization or even an effort at spell checking. It’s disgraceful.

Today we still have letters that were penned in the hand of our forefathers, the founders of our nation. We can, if we are so inclined, read their actual words. Can you image what others will say and think  200  years from now, when historians  read our musings?    The scriptures tell us that words have power. The pen is mightier than the sword, according to Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Words are very powerful and our children should be encouraged to express themselves, especially on paper.

A terrific way to start your child on the road to writing, is to pick up a package of “Thank You” cards, it’s even better if you can find some kid themed cards. Encourage them to write a thank you note or two after receiving a birthday gift or card. We’ve always purchased special notepads and writing instruments for our son, encouraging him to write as often as he felt the need.

There are some terrific books out there, with plenty of ideas to get those creative juices flowing. In fact, I ordered a copy of “unjournaling” by Dawn DiPrince and Cheryl Miller Thurston. Daily writing exercises that are not personal, not introspective and not boring! My son has been having some fun with it.

My 13-year-old has also been reading, King George: What was his problem?by Steven Sheinkin. Everything your schoolbooks didn’t tell you about the American Revolution. My husband and I looked through it and we can’t wait to read it ourselves.

What are you reading?

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