On a recent trip to Barnes and Noble, I came across a box of quotable cards. I was more than excited as it was the first time I have seen them in St. Cloud and have often found them only at the airport. It was a good day.
As I expressed my excitement, an older woman walked up and we started to chat. I told her about how much I like to write cards and letters. She too enjoyed this and said it was rare she would send a thank you via email. While I have practiced this, I personally feel the hand-written approach to communication is a lost art. She agreed.
My question is why? Yes, the Internet provides us with almost lightning speed of delivery when we send an email or message someone via instant-messaging. However, I think it means a little bit more when someone takes the time to sit down and write a thank-you card. It takes less than five minutes to do. So, why not?
I am not saying a thoughtful email can’t do the trick. It can and for many, including me, it is the fastest solution. The “Thank-You Email” is all the rage. But writing letters is becoming extinct. I like to think I am among an elite class of people who prides themselves with having good penmanship as I write my family and friends. My mother used to make me practice for what seemed like forever on writing the alphabet. I’m one of few in my family who still writes letters by hand.
My aunts and grandparents do not have email. If I text my aunt, she will call and ask why I sent her a message on what she views as a small screen that is hard for her to see. I learned quickly if you want to reach Auntie Mimi quickly, call her. If you want to share news that can wait a little while, write her a note. She is the feistiest 72-year-old I know, so I do as I’m told.
I also find younger people appreciate a hand-written card or note a little more than a text. Some of my friends are surprised I still take the time to hand-wrap gifts I give. Again, there’s nothing against the pre-made gift bags at the store. They are beautiful, and I have used them too, but I enjoy the wrapping experience and all that comes with it – multiple measurements and finding ways to hide crooked cuts.
Today’s world is fast-paced. It is all about speed and what can be done right now. I get it. But if there is time, I vote for slowing down and making notes personal.
As a journalist, timeliness is a valued aspect of my work. When news breaks, journalists go and ask questions later. There are also those times when reporters work on in-depth projects and dig for months to create a well-rounded package. When it is revealed to readers, they walk away saying, “Wow, I didn’t know there were so many layers to this subject,” or “What a thorough story!” I doubt many have this response when reading a news-brief.
Technological advancements allow us to share photos and messages quicker than the hand-written letter that might take a few days to arrive. I won’t even get into the amount of items that are lost in the mail. When a letter that is not a monthly bill arrives, think about the feeling of mounting anticipation as you wait to see what’s inside. To me, that’s worth waiting for.