People sometimes call me old fashioned. And that’s fine with me—as long as they don’t leave out the word “fashioned” I tell them!
Even though I am in a fast moving profession that relies heavily on technology, I often find the most joy these days in the simplest of things. Time spent where I can disconnect from the “always on” world for a few minutes and reflect on life.
With Christmas week upon us, my perfect way to unplug is sitting in my den with a good glass of Cabernet, admiring my well lit Christmas tree and Christmas village, and listening to my Frank Sinatra “Jolly Christmas” CD.
Other times throughout the year, I love going for a walk early in the morning when most other life forms are still sleeping. Or simply shutting off anything that needs to be plugged in. And I really enjoy spending a quiet hour or two reading—preferably on my back porch overlooking the lake, with my trusty dog Brandy by my side. These events re-charge my batteries and outlook on life…almost every time!
Another favorite thing I’ve discovered recently—well let’s say re-discovered, is the pleasure of getting a hand-written note or letter in the mail. It’s not that common these days to get one, let alone find the time to write one.
Let me ask you a question, when was the last time you received a hand-written letter from anyone?
I’m not talking about the dozens of Christmas or Holiday cards you may have received from friends, family or business associates the last few weeks, which are now hanging on your mantle, taped to a door frame or attached to your banister.
I’m talking about an authentic, from-the-heart, hand-written letter from a son, daughter, parent, sibling, mentor or long lost friend.
Think about it.
Last month, you probably sent and received at least a thousand text messages, Facebook messages and emails alone; some from folks you don’t know very well… or may have never even met personally!
But have you received even one hand-written letter in the past month? How about the past year?
I can honestly tell you, that a small envelope with somewhat recognizable cursive or print writing, that you unexpectedly pull out of your mail box, does something to you.
I know… because it did something to me.
A few months ago I received one of these hand-written letters from my daughter. She just turned 20 and moved about six hours away to attend college this summer. She is also a young, but wonderful single mother of an active 18-month old daughter. So she has her hands full to say the least. So the letter I received was a big surprise.
I immediately thought something was wrong—heck I’m not a pessimist but an optimist with experience!
Well, nothing was wrong. In fact, in her short note, she told me that she missed me and recently had a revelation that she wanted to share.
Looking back over the years, she said I wasn’t quite as “out-of-touch” as she thought I had been during her high school years. In fact, she said I was more like a clairvoyant or fortune teller because so many of the things I advised her of while she was growing up—or warned her about—had somehow come true.
She also thanked me for standing by and letting her get through tough times herself… even though I had the answers all along. They say when your kids turn 30-something, they see you as a lot smarter parent all of a sudden. So the way I look at it, maybe I’m ten years ahead of schedule getting my degree in old fashioned smarts!
Although reading this hand-written letter was a great experience for me as a father, the real lesson I took from it was, wow how cool was it to get a handwritten letter in the mail. Now, my daughter is like many kids her age sending out several thousand texts each month—I know I see the bill—and I receive quite a few of them from her myself.
But the handwritten note I received in the mail is really the only communication I got from her recently where I can actually remember the content of the message and what it said.
It cost no more than a 49-cent stamp to mail, but it was worth more to me than finding a buried treasure full of gold coins in my back yard.
I now have that letter safely tucked away where I can take it out and read it again and again as the years pass.
And I don’t have to worry about it suddenly being deleted or lost forever …like if I dropped my phone in a puddle or suffered a fatal glitch to my smart phone’s SIM card! I know that this good old treasure, a hand-written note on a torn page of a yellow lined note pad, will always be safely tucked away for as long as I live.
That’s why this year at Christmas I have decided to write a letter to a special family member. Someone in particular I know is getting on in years, not doing well physically and I want to express my gratefulness to him before it’s too late.
What about you?
Is there someone important in your life you only send three to five word texts to throughout the year that you have been meaning to call and catch up with? Maybe someone close to you who you haven’t told them how much you love them, or appreciate all they do for you? Or perhaps a child away at college that you miss and don’t see every day like you used to?
Have you, like me, simply been too busy to do much of anything beside work each day? You know as well as I, if you really want to do something, you CAN find the time for it …IF you put mind to it.
So why not take a few minutes this Holiday Season and consider writing a letter to someone special in your life just to say thanks, hello, or that you miss them. Then put a stamp on it, and drop it in the mail.
Go ahead, I know you can do it!
(Oh and by the way, letters composed on Microsoft Word, printed out on your laser printer and dropped in the mail do not count!)
Take the time to sit down in a quiet place, get a pen and paper, and write down what it is in your heart. Take the first step toward making this coming year the best one ever. For both you and somebody special!
I promise you… you will feel as good about doing it, as the person who receives it in the mail a few days later.
From someone who really appreciates the simple things in life, I want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Weiss Educational Services
P.S. You’ve got about a week until the New Year. So don’t put this off too long. It could be a wonderful way to make someone’s day—and year!