The Power of a Letter

A few days ago as we were “hubbing” around the kitchen island (that’s the word I use to describe our family when we’re all hanging out in the central hub of our home – our kitchen!), the mail came. We’re like most families — we love to get the mail. So we’re sorting through the cards and letters, and Bethany sees one from a college with her name on it. Thinking it was just another promo flier, she opens it, but with no real expectation. But in less than a minute she starts reading out loud, sharing the news of her letter from a college coach who saw her play at a showcase tournament a few weeks back and wanted to let her know about his team. Add to that the fact that there was a brief personal handwritten note scribbled at the bottom, and she went from “letter as usual” to “I matter.”

And it affected all of us! We started asking to see the letter, I was checking the handwritten part to see if it was really legit (sorry!), her siblings were already talking scholarship — we all got pretty excited as we realized our daughter and sister was on a coach’s radar.

Even later that night as I was tucking our two little girls in bed and stopped by to say good night to Bethany, I saw the letter on her bed. She was proud of that! And no doubt. Her hard work had paid off; somebody had recognized it.

I got to thinking about the impact of that “personal” letter from someone she never met. It’s true – we all like to “matter” to someone. We all like it when our work is recognized. When an “atta boy” comes our way. And I tend to think when it is in writing, it holds even a little more value. Impact. Significance. It’s like they took extra time. More intentionality. A little more initiative.

Not a bad idea for parents, eh? I decided right then to better utilize the power of notes and letters. Sure, we all know this, but if you’re like me, I rarely implement it. A quick note in a lunch, a simple blurb left on a pillow, an encouraging letter inside the birthday card and gift, a short “memo” on the mirror…I want to do more of that. More of recognizing an achievement. Complimenting their character. Praising their work. Appreciating their uniqueness. Just jotting it down and passing it on.

Let’s put our affirmations on paper. It’s a little way to make a big difference.

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