Generally, we don’t give it much thought. Afterall, in our digital age, where does an old-fashioned handwritten letter fit?
And then, out of nowhere, reminders come.
My first reminder came when our oldest granddaughter (now 16) was about three years old. Something prompted me, truthfully, I can’t ever remember what, but I dropped a card in the mail to her. And then went on about my life.
A few weeks later I received a call from her daddy letting me know that this little lady was accompanying him to the mailbox everyday in hopes of finding another letter addressed to her!
Another reminder came just a few weeks ago. Celebrating our grandson’s fifth birthday, we gathered (socially-distanced) for dinner, cake, and the opening of gifts. When the birthday boy stopped to pull a card from one of the gifts and carefully open it up, someone commented on his taking the time to look at the card. My son then told us about the thrill this child gets in receiving cards and mail. As well, he proceeded to explain about the very recent day when our grandson received not one, but two cards on the same trip to the mailbox.
Okay, this one doesn’t come from family but from Jeopardy! As I sat watching a recent episode, they were interviewing the current champion who had a “treasured” collection. What was this treasure? A cherished assortment of letters from her grandpa! She said her grandpa had not lived far from them when she was growing up, yet he delighted in writing her letters about his day and what was going on outside his window. Simple letters, yet treasured, nonetheless.
A letter is personal.
Think about just the three examples I’ve shared – going daily to the mailbox to find an envelope with her name on it, receiving envelopes in the mail just for him, a treasured collection that belonged to her!
Children of all ages enjoy the thrill of seeing their own name on an envelope. They love opening the mailbox to find something inside with their name on it. It is theirs; something just for them.
When we take the time to handwrite a letter to our grandchild, we show that we are thinking of them and that we are interested in them as an individual. Letters from grandparents provide a sense of security, love, and belonging.
Additionally, our letters help our grandchildren come to know us better and strengthen our relationship.
A letter is breathing space.
Of course, we can send texts and email messages to our grandchildren, and sometimes that is exactly the thing we need to do. However, sitting down to handwrite a letter is like pressing pause on the fast pace of life. The writer secures a few moments to stop, slow down, and enjoy the pleasure of letting thoughts wander and putting pen to paper. On the other end of the letter, the receiver delights in winding down as they carefully open a meaningful message from someone who cares.
A letter is tangible.
A handwritten letter can be opened and slipped from the envelope. It can be held in the hands and pulled out again and again.
Letters are a tiny part of your life shared with your grandchild. They are a legacy of your love that can be carried with your grandchild anywhere they go. And just like the contestant on Jeopardy, your letters can become a keepsake they treasure in their adult years and even pass on to their children.
A LETTER WRITING REVIVAL
In this digital age when most of our communication is done in an instant and on a device with a screen, it might just be time for a letter writing revival.
Handwritten letters are personal and deeply satisfying in ways that electronic communication can never be, no matter how well-crafted the message. And the joy our grandchildren receive from our letters addressed to them and discovered in the mailbox cannot be overstated.
Let’s revive this lost art with thoughtful, handwritten letters that are delivered to our grandchildren no matter how far away they live.
LETTER WRITING TOOLKIT
Most grandparents I talk with understand the mighty power of a handwritten letter, and they long for its deep and rich benefits poured out on their grandchildren and in their relationship.
Yet, when it comes to pulling out a sheet of paper and taking pen in hand, they stand paralyzed!
Crippled by the thought of not knowing what to write. Incapacitated by the fear that a grandchild might find their letters uninteresting, or dare I say it, boring. Years go by, and letters remain unwritten.
It is for these grandparents that this new resource, Letter Writing Toolkit for Grandparents, has been created.
This toolkit contains 22 powerful tools for helping grandparents get started on the letter writing journey. Included in the kit are how-tos for formatting letters. (It has been a while since most of us actually wrote a letter!) Additionally, there are ideas for things to write about, and templates for adding in some fun!
The Letter Writing Toolkit is available for $10 and can be purchased through Gumroad.