The Lost Art of Letter Writing
When I was getting my son ready for sleep-away camp this year, I made sure he was aware of some important things - like how to turn on the shower, where to find his socks and how to make his bed. I had heard horror stories of kids who never showered at camp because they weren't taught how to do it by themselves so I was determined to ensure that my 10 year old wouldn't be that kid.
I thought I had everything covered. And I did...except for the letters.
A few days after he arrived at camp, we started receiving letters home from him with our address written on the back flap. While the card still found its way to our mailbox, we never told our son where to write our mailing address. Somehow, I must have thought that part would be instinctual - except my son decided that it made the most sense to write all the addresses down on the wrong side. Plus, he also lost the entire page of addresses I had typed and printed out for him before he left, so I had to re-send it via bunk notes so he could write his grandparents. Ironically, they received their letters in the same condition with their mailing address on the back flap.
When I ran into a friend of mine and confided his letter writing faux pas, she revealed that when her son first went to sleep-away camp, he told her he had sent her a ton of letters but she never received them. A few weeks into the case of the missing camp letters, she finally solved the mystery - her son was putting his own mailing address on the front flap so the letters kept going back to him!
And here's another doozy - we were out to dinner the other night with friends and they told us their son received a letter from one of his best friends who was away at camp. He was so excited to hear from him that he ripped open the envelope only to find a letter that read:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I'm having a lot of fun at camp and haven't cried yet....
It turns out, his mom had armed him with pre-addressed envelopes. All he had to do was write a letter and then put it in the right one and voila, mail it to out. Easy, peasy. Except he didn't read who he was sending his letter to and thought this one was going to his parents.
I guess in this age of technology, parents have taken letter writing skills for granted. But let that be a lesson to all of us. Sending email is easy - but nothing beats receiving a good old fashioned letter from your child - no matter where they write the address -- as long as it gets there and we're able to read through his practically illegible handwriting that he's having a great time, then all is right with the world.