Friday, 18 October 2013

Revive the tradition of letter writing to your children like F. Scott Fistzgerald

Writing to our children as a gift of love.

source The Graphics Fairy

What is so important about letter writing?

Some of my clearest memories from my childhood are receiving letters from my Aunt Marjorie, my parents while I was away at camp and from people on vacations who thought to send back post cards.  I believe that getting these notes started me on my life long path of journal keeping.

Receiving these hand written missive held more than the words written on the paper.  I knew that each of these people had thought about me and taken the time to put pen to paper.  Aunt Marjorie would draw small pictures on her letters, and  Mom would kiss the letter with lipstick on.

Now isn’t that the same as sending a Facebook post or a tweet.  Well for older children who have access to Facebook, Twitter etc it very well maybe.  Our oldest grandson (18) over the past few weeks has started to send me private messages over Facebook and I have responded via this medium.  These gifts from him mean a great deal to me I only wish I could print them out to keep.

Young children do not and should not have the same access to social media and there is research that found receiving a letter with your name on it builds self-esteem, motivates children to learn to read, and  instills a desire to write down their thoughts.

A number of you have commented on how you would like to or are in the process of writing down your family history and that finding the time to do it is the problem.  

I wonder if motivation would be the problem if you knew that your grandchild was expectantly waiting a letter from Grandma.

You do not have to live far away to send a letter.  Many of the famous people who wrote to their children did so while they lived under the same roof.   

We express ourselves differently in writing and the written words are a permanent record of your feelings, hopes and expectations.

Here are a few tips if you want to send off your first letter.

  1. Keep your letter short no more than one page. 
  2. Use words that your grand/child will know or be learning in school 
  3. Draw pictures or include old photographs for young children 
  4. Include a treat like a stickers, bookmarks or a homemade coupon for a special treat with you. 
  5. Your letter should be on one topic 
  6. Do not ask them questions at this point tell them something or share something

You could write them a letter that is a simple as:

Today I found this knock knock joke and I thought of you.
(write out the joke)
I love the way you tell jokes when we are together.
Love Grandpa

Between now and the December holiday season I will be posting eight blogs on writing letters for your children and grandchildren.  With each post I will include a letter that a famous historical person wrote to their child.

The timing of these posts is deliberate as I would like you to consider in your gift giving to school aged grand/children  gifting them writing paper, stamped envelopes self addressed  to you and a writing utensil.  

That you start a tradition of letter writing.


 Grandma Snyder

F. Scott Fitzgerald letter to his daughter Pie from Letters of Note


August 8, 1933



Dear Pie:



I feel very strongly about you doing duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy — but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed pages, they never really happen to you in life.



All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare's in which the line occurs "Lillies that fester smell far worse than weeds."



Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up a Saturday Evening Post story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me "Pappy" again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?



I will arrange the camp bill.



Halfwit, I will conclude.



Things to worry about:



Worry about courage

Worry about Cleanliness

Worry about efficiency

Worry about horsemanship

Worry about. . .



Things not to worry about:



Don't worry about popular opinion

Don't worry about dolls

Don't worry about the past

Don't worry about the future

Don't worry about growing up

Don't worry about anybody getting ahead of you

Don't worry about triumph

Don't worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault

Don't worry about mosquitoes

Don't worry about flies

Don't worry about insects in general

Don't worry about parents

Don't worry about boys

Don't worry about disappointments

Don't worry about pleasures

Don't worry about satisfactions



Things to think about:



What am I really aiming at?

How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:



(a) Scholarship

(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?

(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?



With dearest love,



Daddy



P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. "Egg Fitzgerald." How would you like that to go through life with — "Eggie Fitzgerald" or "Bad Egg Fitzgerald" or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear to God I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?



Love anyhow

Grandma Snyder
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