In this age of cell phones, Email, faxes, letter writing is an all but forgotten practice and most young children have never written a letter.
Now days we talk to our friends on our cell phones it rarely occurs to us to write a letter. When was the last time your received a nice long juicy letter? Having grandchildren is an excellent opportunity to revive an old custom.
One of the most important things to remember about letters is that they are both a form of communications for the present and a record for the future. Ask your grandchildren to keep a copy of your letters, but to be on the safe side, keep a copy yourself. When I was a young girl my grandmother and I wrote letters. I would read her letters ( and my replies) they were full of grandmotherly advice. I still have a few of the letters she sent, and I treasure them dearly, even though they are more than forty years old. I only wish they contained more details.
Even if your grandchildren don’t appreciate the letters now they will in the future. Letter writing is only one way of fulfilling your role of family historian. Don’t limit yourself to writing standard letters. Even your youngest grandchildren can look at pictures and if you have the skill of drawing you can send one of your drawing to them.
As they get older you can send them picture letters where the message is conveyed by a few pictures or drawings about things they are interested in. If there’s a cartoon or comic strip you think your grand-daughter would appreciate send it to her. As they get older you can send them a disposable camera with an addressed and stamped mailing envelope and ask them to take pictures of anything they want and send them to you. And don’t forget to send pictures and postcards when you travel!
Once children get used to the idea that there may be letters arriving containing news, pictures, stories and other treats intended especially for them, they will come to look forward to them. Despite all our technological advances, most people I know feel a little rush of anticipation when they open their mail and hidden in among the bills, solicitations, and magazines is a personal letter or a post card.
Twentieth-century technology has vastly changed out ability to communicate over distance. Although it hardly seems believable today, at the end of World War Two only half of American homes had a telephone. Even in the late 1950s as many as a quarter of households had no telephone. Our grandchildren will probably find it just as hard to imagine that in 1990 only 27th percent of U.S. households had a computer!
For hundreds of years or at least since pens and paper became commonplace and people who wanted to get in touch with other people separated by distance had only one way to do it. They wrote letters it was the only means of long-distance communication, at least until the telegraph was invented in the 19th century.
Today the schools are considering replacing cursive writing with texting and key boarding. Grandparents can start hand writing letters and have their grandchildren write back to them. There are hundreds of fun subjects to write about while creating letters that in the future will become keepsakes.