We need to bring handwritten letters back, and positive news can help!6 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
Today is National Letter Writing Day, and I cannot help but think about the box of letters nestled safely in the bottom shelf of my closet. It reminds me of my best friend from 10 years ago, my story about how I got the perfect grade on a project, my grandma’s famous recipe for kheer, and postman uncle’s kind smile. As a kid of the 90s, I saw the best of both worlds- letters and Whatsapp. I wrote letters to the editor in leading children’s newspapers and now, I write reviews.
Learn more about the charm of a letter in Owliver’s article on World Post Day.
While I marvel at the developments in technology, I still go back to my box of letters to feel some love enclosed in words.
As a child from the forces, I travelled every two years. Letters became my way of staying in touch with the friends I made along the way. I wrote letters to my grandparents and my friends every fortnight even if the only new thing that happened to me was a haircut, a playground injury or reading the newspaper! Letters made my life into an ongoing event where I assumed significance and importance- something integral to a kid whose whole life changed every 18-20 months. My story became relevant. My readers- my family and friends- cared for what I had to say (my grandmother still has a letter I wrote to her 20 years ago). And I cared for their words.
Every fortnight, I waited for the postman to drop by. If I spotted a colorful envelope in the mailbox, I knew it was for me. I learnt to write a story about my life and read others as stories.
I learnt to value each individual for the multitude of stories they carry within them and I seek those stories even now when I meet someone new or catch up with an old friend.
Letters taught me, and others in my generation, to try and be empathetic, caring, understanding and curious; to look at the world and its people with a sense of wonder and intrigue; to become active participants in the consumption of information. And we need that more than ever in the world we live in today.
Here’s why we need to bring letters back for the children of our world-
It helps them know that they are cared for
Children need to know that we care for their stories, their playground injuries, and haircuts.
We need them to know that we care about what is happening to them in these rather peculiar times (COVID-19 has not not been easy)!
Here, writing a letter to a loved one helps.
It helps them open up and share
Letters do not care for syntax, lexicon, and grammar that can hold children back. This is where their thoughts assume significance over other markers that are taught in school assignments.
It helps them develop expression
There is something special about a handwritten letter.
Each word is intentional and not auto-suggested by Google. Each word is meant to create meaning, meaning for the reader who reads it mouthing every word imagining the writer and how the words sound in his/her mouth. More than anything, these handwritten letters carry in them the essence of the writers through the way they dot their Is or strike their Ts.
Letters are an organic way to learn to tell a story. It is a lot easier when you yourself are the protagonist.
It helps build deeper connections
Writing a letter takes time and intent. It is not like a sample instant message. Each word has to be written deliberately. Letters are more than mere communication.
They are relics, souvenirs, and memories that can be touched. Belonging to a time before autocorrect and suggestion, they are natural, just like relationships.
It helps them stay curious
It is very important for children to be active participants in creating and processing information! There is so much content around them. Letters can help them in articulating their world before readers thus rendering importance to their views. As adults, it is our responsibility to ensure that the content they are exposed to is engaging.
We can start from our homes. Team Owliver did.
Owliver is our cozy home and every day, our news articles are our letters to our young readers to let them know that we are finding stories for them to read. We are looking out for them by delivering positive news that makes them smile, think, and learn. So, to get a kickstart, start today and start with us. There is so much to write about from our collection. How about Kaavan, the lonely elephant who finally found friends? Or the teacher who was just awarded a million dollars for his efforts? Or the Mario-themed amusement park in Japan?
Ask the children around you to send letters to their friends (e-mail works too) sharing their favourite Owliver story. They could write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with their responses to those stories or about anything at all, too. Owliver will definitely carry a letter back to his young pen pal!
So let’s get cracking. After all, a world built on words is a strong one.