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Write letters, build bonds

What are your most prized possessions? In an age where technology is taking the place of simple eye-to-eye communication and the slow, snail pace of the written word, it can be quite a challenge to find ways to connect as a family. What if we could slow down, relax, get in touch with our simple roots, and dip the pen in the ink once again?

I would like to give you an assignment. I would like you to write your children a handwritten letter, to show them with your time and your thoughts, how much you care. Take it to your mailbox, or you could take it to the post office, and send it right back home. A couple days later, take your child by the hand, and have a little leisurely walk to the mailbox. It is rare day for a child to receive personal mail. Our mailboxes are generally filled with catalogs, bills, flyers, credit card applications and junk. When a child receives something handwritten from someone they love, it is a good day! Through the eyes of a child, they are still amazed and in awe, just like we were, with the mail man. “Someone is taking the time to get in his trusty vehicle to bring a letter all the way home to me.” To a child, this makes the trip to the mailbox a little adventure. We all know that a handwritten letter takes attention, thought and consideration. But isn’t the time worth it for the return on investment? Although a text or an email may be much quicker and easier, receiving a letter with the personal handwriting, and writing instrument of choice, of the one they love communicates something ever so special. The letter in essence says, “I love you. You are special to me. You are worth my time. You are important.” The letter in itself teaches a child the value of giving something with courage, and receiving the letter reinforces the feelings of warmth between the two, knowing someone took the time to do something ever-so-special, just for them.

If you are inspired by this simple idea, I encourage you to pick a day each month to send a letter to thank your child for what they are doing right. This is an opportunity for you to combat all of those “No’s!” with a beautiful “Yes.” You are saying, “I like you. I am happy you are my child. You are doing well in life. This is what I appreciate about you.” Tell them what you like about them, what they are doing well. “I noticed that you are picking up your clothes in the morning and dressing yourself. Wow! I also noticed that you are sharing with your brother and showing him kindness. I appreciate that about you.” This can help build a sense of self-worth and confidence that no commercial gift can supply.

Love can be spoken in a myriad of ways. And the handwritten word? A gift from the heart.

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