"Cuando se puede elegir, es obligado acertar."
"When you can choose, you must be right."

Have we lost the magic of sending letters?

In this day and age where everything is fast-paced, we are rushed and mashed together in a blur of bumper to bumper tasks. There is no stop, no rest, not a second spared to write a paragraph’s worth of message in a simple day.

 

 Sure, I may be overexaggerating it already and I admit but, let me ask you, when was the last time you sat down in a corner, dwelt on your thoughts about someone or something, and started to put your musings into a handwritten letter?

 

Why write letters?

Reading a story of a handwritten letter being sent from one person to another may sound old-fashioned to you and I cannot blame you for that. We are in the 21st century and in the time of technology, why do we need to go back to conventional methods and suffer from slow correspondence? Instant messaging through applications like WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram have made big waves to 2 billion users across the world. These real-time channels are sure to have created seamless productivity and to get on with things in a snap.

But as we appreciate the advantages of innovation, this immediate electronic short message service (SMS) will also give you no time to reflect on the words you want to convey. Anyone can chat with someone, but not everyone gets to express themselves in a heartfelt way, and this, in the long run, can potentially deteriorate the quality of conversation.

And so, going back to the good ol’ days, when snail mail and pen pal were a thing, the power of sending and receiving letters is a communication that can be considered even more personal and more meaningful. 

I have come across this article listed by the Saturday Evening Post titled ‘7 Reasons to Keep Writing Letters,’ which gives me high hopes that sending and receiving letters should be kept and preserved as the Polaroid camera survived the inevitable development of digital cameras:

 

1.- Letters are personal 

A handwritten note shows the recipient how much they mean to you. I can truly attest that receiving one really moves mountains! As said by American journalist, Phyllis Theroux, “to send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”

2.- You can practice your handwriting 

Or show off your handwriting. I know calligraphy or decorative lettering with a pen or a brush is a common scene in a student’s notebook, and maybe this a chance to put that aesthetic talent to the test!

3.- You can keep your own history 

Letters are responsible for a great deal of what we know about history. Saved letters tell a story, unlike deleted text messages and emails. This is a treasure that money can’t buy.

4.- You can add personalized art 

The ink, watercolor, and pencil drawings in the collection show how graphics can enhance a personalized note. Oh, you know what, here’s my technique and practical way of designing letters: crumpling a white bond paper and staining it with coffee, or sometimes burning the borders just to make it a bit antique looking and presentable! 

5.- The message will be more meaningful 

Writing out your thoughts to someone will give you more clarity on what exactly you want to say. The opportunity to develop your message and voice over the course of a letter affords your recipient a richer experience. Author Barb Schmidt says, “place all of your attention on your letter’s recipient. What stands out about that person? Good memories? Shared accomplishments? Commonalities?” and “Thoughtfully reflect upon what you want to share with that person about yourself. What feelings do you wish to elicit? Love, support, humor, etc.?”

6.- Letters are tangible 

Something you can see, touch, and smell automatically activates the moment you’ve shared with the person you received the letter from. These handheld keepsakes can be a simple and secure form of memory, and this doesn’t have to be lost to technology.

7.- The recipient will thank you 

There are few happy surprises tantamount to arriving home from a rough day and discovering a letter from a friend.

8.- Reviving the art of letter giving

 

Valentine’s day

As good as it was back then, I’m sure most kids nowadays are still fond of sharing their messages (most of the time wishes!) to Santa Claus or the Three Kings. Sometimes their imagination allows them to make a letter to be sent out to the Milky Way, and this is the true essence of speaking with your mind and heart. Just as how we get giddy when receiving a package from Amazon, the priceless feeling of seeing a piece of envelope with a cutesy stamp in the mailbox—hopefully not a billing statement—can instantly light up our mood.

 

COLEGIO ALKOR SAN VALENTIN AMISTAD
COLEGIO ALKOR SAN VALENTIN AMISTAD

 

In the light of Valentine’s day, our English language assistants, Jolina, Ty, Gabe, Gabby, Katlyn, and Gadiel, led an engaging letter making session in primary and secondary school. They went through the format of writing an informal letter, like the salutation, cool introductory lines, using of quotes and poems to spice up the message, and enclosing everything in an envelope, which they designed and topped off with a DIY stamp! 

There are a lot more reasons to fall in love with traditional writing and sending of letters, and I hope this inspires you to start writing.

Can you believe that our friendship mail posts received an overwhelming number of letters from students, to be exact, thousands of multi-colored papers that painted smiles on kids, teens, and teachers’ faces on February 14th? The language assistants played postmen/women and delivered the little piece of joy sealed in a white flapped paper in every classroom. The surprise and contentment in their eyes plainly expressed how the conventional letter giving, not only during Valentine’s day, is a mindful exercise that carefully stimulates one’s gratitude towards another.

 

There are a lot more reasons to fall in love with traditional writing and sending of letters, and I hope this inspires you to start writing. If you’re not ready to send a letter to someone yet, I have an idea that I am also about to do – draft a letter to your future self, have you heard of it? Reflect on yourself, ask some questions that have been bugging you, tell your future self about your principles and beliefs in the different life areas like family, friends, health, relationship, and store your letter with a future open date. Now, drop it in the nearest post office and when you receive it, resist yourself from opening until your set date. 🙂

 

That’s all for now, reader. Write back soon, pls? Let’s keep in touch and oh, I wish you the best of luck in life, especially in the coming Globals exam. Sending you lots of love, from someone who loves you!  

 

xoxo,

Jolina

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