Our challenge this week:
Write a handwritten letter and reconnect with someone important to you.
This challenge encourages the following values:
Kindness, Courage and Gratitude.
What you need to complete your challenge this week:
- An important person in your life and someone in your child’s life that you’d like to reconnect with in some way.
- Some writing paper, beautiful, handcrafted, scrap, notepaper, back of an envelope…
- A pen, any pen, whether found from under the fridge or inherited fountain type variety from your Grandfather. A crayon if you’re 4.
- A quiet place away from distraction where you can unplug.
- An address or a (known) letter box
- A cup of tea in your favourite mug.
If all else fails… A phone call or a knock on a door will convey the same important message equally well but try to avoid emailing.
Food for thought for the grown-ups:
Science suggests that handwriting a letter makes you, the writer, feel good and feel happier. Expressive writing, as we are doing here in this challenge, for both adults and children, can relieve stress and improve your mood. Whether writing a letter or doing your homework it’s always a wise idea to do a rough copy first so you can edit it to succinctly and poignantly convey the message you want to deliver. Make time to write this letter because it is going to require your undivided attention. When you give time to a person or to a task you are considering it important and valuable much like the person to whom you are writing. We rarely tell people how important they are to us these days. With social media and rushed hectic lives we all too often assume that people know we love them but think back to the last time anyone took time out to tell you how much they missed seeing you or talking to you, think of how much joy it would bring you to receive this letter? Unplug from your screen and enjoy the almost sensory experience of putting pen to paper and creating something that will no doubt be kept, reread, maybe boxed for safe keeping. People are not around forever, nor are they mind-readers. People are often unaware of the importance they hold in your life or maybe the importance they once held and how much you would like to reignite that friendship or that relationship. By fulfilling this challenge you are expressing kindness, consideration and courage to extend the hand of friendship to someone you maybe haven’t seen in a while. Be brave.
And for the children:
The concept of time in a young person’s life is irrelevant here so scrap the bit about having to reconnect, just get them to write, or even draw a picture for someone if they aren’t yet writing. Older children can make their own minds up about who they write to but try to dissuade them from writing to their best mate from school that they saw yesterday! Ask your child if there are any old friends that they would like to see again that maybe they’ve lost contact with due to changing schools or leaving clubs or moving house… maybe make their letter an invitation to a play date, Xbox afternoon or football in the park date? If they are willing and able get them to write a little note to their chosen friend which maybe you can post or pass on to the parent inviting them to whatever activity you and your child have decided upon. The act of writing an invitation to the friend is demonstrating to your child that they are choosing the friend, choosing the activity, and telling that friend that they would like to spend time with them. Tell them how kind they are for thinking of that friend, for writing that letter and but also discuss with them the possibility that that friend may not reply but that it is ok because what is important is that they were kind to invite them, they were brave to write the letter. This lesson encourages resilience, you can never learn enough about the power of resilience throughout life!
So go for it, go out and buy the beautiful handmade writing paper or grab a piece of A4 out of the printer tray, either way, reach out, reconnect and who knows it could be the start (or restart) of a meaningful relationship in your own and your child’s lives.