By: Julie Lizak
With all of this time at home, most of us are trying to come up with ways to engage families in activities that don't involve a screen. My husband and I wanted to get our three kids writing, so we started with good old fashioned letter writing.
We have all become quite proficient at connecting with friends and family over technology, especially during this time. But when was the last time you wrote an actual letter? (I love a good thank you note, but that doesn't count here.) Recently, we received a nudge to write a letter. A friend, who works at a retirement home, pleaded for letters for her patients, who are struggling with the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Our kids sat down and wrote a letter—yup, to someone they didn't even know.
Next, we wrote letters to all of our kids’ cousins. A few of them are very young, so it involved a little creativity in making cards relatable to them. We also wrote letters to their grandparents, taking a little more thought and time, as we challenged them to write a full page.
Writing to an old or new friend is also the perfect opportunity to reach out to let them know that you are thinking about them. How about writing to a family member, who you have lost touch with? (I need to take my own advice on this one.)
Think how exciting it is during these times to go to the mailbox and receive something other than bills and catalogs. Too many people haven’t experienced the joy of receiving a personal note.
- Make a list of people who you think would enjoy receiving (or need!) a letter.
- For younger kids, offer writing prompts, and see where it takes them. Include, if you are able, a gift card to a local restaurant to someone in the healthcare field, who lost their job or could use an extra boost. This is a great way to help someone while supporting a local business.
- If younger kids (who aren’t on social media) are missing friends at school, encourage them to write to their classmates and teachers.
- Being at home has given my daughter plenty of time to work through A Beginner's Guide to Lettering and Modern Calligraphy. (The best $6.99 I ever spent.) It is a fun way to decorate a blank notecard, write out your favorite Bible quote, etc.
- My husband suggested that that we take a few minutes at the end of the day to journal. Each night, we grab our journals and write about our day. We found that, after the first couple of days, it got easier. This not only gets our kids writing, but it will be an interesting snapshot of what life was like during the 2020 pandemic.