When was the last time you received a letter? I’m not talking about a credit card bill or a letter asking you to donate to charity – I’m talking about a letter that was personally written to you. Can you even remember?
Perhaps the closest thing to a letter you have ever gotten is a birthday card from your grandma. Better yet, when was the last time you wrote a letter to somebody? Would you know how to address the envelope to send it out in the mail?
Sadly, our generation seems to have overlooked the power of a pen and piece of paper. Instead, we ridden the electronic wave of texting, instant messaging, and Facebook posting.
We feel awkward if we have to call someone on the phone and are way too comfortable saying things we shouldn’t over text.
We post about our amazing significant other all over Facebook, but perhaps we never tell them in person what they mean to us. This isn’t what the cultural norm should be.
I am a sentimental person. I love crinkly, yellowed paper and the feel of an old, black and white photograph. If you’ve ever gone through your grandma’s box of keepsakes, you know what I’m talking about.
There is so much to be learned from our grandparent’s generation. They clipped newspaper articles, stashed dozens of handwritten letters, preserved fraying family bibles, and kept old flowers from first dates.
They left a legacy. But what will we have to show our grandchildren? We can’t save all the texts we’ve received, much to my chagrin, and it would take forever to scroll back fifty years on Facebook to let your grandchildren read those sweet posts from their grandpa. Even if we print out emails or instant messaging chats, I think that’s so impersonal.
So what can we do to change this? Our culture is submerged in keyboards and touch screens and it happened in hardly a decade. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with Facebook or smart phones – I have a Facebook and I text – but I think it is important for us to remember the importance of a letter or a spoken word.
If you write a letter to someone, it can show them how much you care on several different levels.
First, it takes time to write things by hand. Therefore, it shows that you’re willing to sacrifice some of your time in order to write them.
Secondly, it requires thought. You have to formulate what you want to say very carefully in your mind. There isn’t a backspace key on paper! This will help to eliminate misunderstandings that so commonly occur over text.
And finally, by writing a letter, you’re bringing joy to someone’s life. I feel like a child on Christmas morning whenever I find a letter in my mailbox, and I know I’m not the only one. I correspond with my friends through letters all the time, and I believe it adds a deeper level to the relationship.
If you’re reading this, you might think I’m an prude, anti-electronic extremist who hasn’t embraced the future, or you might be curious to experiment. Summer is quickly approaching, and with it, we are bound to have some days that involve sitting around and doing absolutely nothing. I challenge you this summer to take one of those days and write someone a letter.
You don’t have to have a boyfriend or girlfriend to do this; you can choose a family member or a friend. Write a letter to your mom and thank her for everything she taught you. Write to your grandma and tell her you love her and would like to visit more often. I guarantee you it will make their day to receive something handwritten from you!
If you’re thinking that it’s weird to write letters, it’s not! Don’t be afraid to be different because most of the time, different is better.