Letters of encouragement
By Daniella Dautrich
BEFORE April flies away, we want to highlight National Card and Letter Writing Month! It’s a great time to remind your kids how to format a letter (heading, greeting, body, and closing) with the friendly letter boogie. And, if you’re out shopping, grab a few art and stationery supplies so your kids can design and write homemade birthday cards or creative pen-pal letters.
If you and your family sit down to write a few cards and notes this week, take some time to think about people who could especially use a letter of encouragement. We all know someone in a challenging season of life. You can teach your children to write uplifting, cheerful messages to friends and relatives with these easy tips!
Thinking of You
Ask your child to think of someone who might need an extra ray of sunshine in their day. Maybe you know a:
- High school student worried about exams.
- Friend who recently moved to a new town.
- Widow who can no longer drive to visit her children and grandchildren.
When your child picks a recipient for her “thinking of you” letter, offer her a choice of brightly colored stationery and note cards. Now, it’s time to brainstorm for ideas, such as:
- A funny story about something that recently happened in your family.
- An interesting book you enjoyed and your thoughts / recommendation.
- A recipe you tried and how the dish turned out.
Decorate the finished letter or envelope with stickers, drawings, or funny cartoons. These are always sure to bring a smile!
Get Well Soon
It shouldn’t be hard to think of someone under the weather who would perk up when a letter arrives in the mail. Do you know:
- An athletic child or teen who is home on crutches?
- Someone recovering from surgery?
- A friend who missed a weekly activity (church, sports practice, club meeting, etc.) because they were sick?
- An elderly friend who doesn’t feel well?
Handwritten notes don’t have to be long to boost a friend’s spirits. Besides the obvious “I’m sorry you’re sick” and “get well soon” lines, your child can be creative and include other encouraging tidbits, such as:
- A Bible verse or short poem.
- A recommendation for a song or movie you think they might enjoy.
- Ideas for activities you can do together when they get well.
After the note is signed, include a tea bag, a pressed flower, or a favorite photograph. Your friend will appreciate these little gifts while they recover from injury or illness.
Sometimes, we realize too late that we’ve hurt someone else’s feelings. Has your child ever embarrassed a friend accidentally? Forgotten to include another child in a group game or activity? Help her understand which kind of situations are best forgotten or left alone, and which call for a phone call or letter of apology.
If you decide that a letter is appropriate, help your daughter or son write a sincere, heartfelt note:
- Begin by explaining why you’re sorry.
- Tell how much you love / value / respect them, and what their friendship means to you.
- Express your hope for the relationship (forgiveness, continued friendship, etc.).
Letters of encouragement come in all shapes and sizes, for many seasons and situations in life. Model good letter-writing habits for your children, and soon they’ll look forward to expressing themselves in creative, memorable ways.