Connecting with the InfiniteOctober 20, 2021
Our Connection to WorkNovember 3, 2021
Resilience relies on community. How do we stay in touch? An old-fashioned approach is sending a hand written letter, card or post card.
There is something about a written letter. The tangible nature of it carries layers of meaning. The card or image chosen. The type of paper or envelope used. Years ago (I mean decades ago), I was a prolific letter writer. Having moved many times, I lived states away from many of my closest friends. We wrote, doodled in the margins and even played Othello by mail. Small items got taped to the letter or slipped in the envelope. Leaves, pressed flowers, bookmarks.
Letters have longevity. Recently, my mother and I read through a stack of letters her cousin had sent her. These letters were sent from my grandmother to her sister. Stories of day-to-day life from 80 years ago when my mother was a child. I remember my grandmother as a frail woman who was too tired to be disturbed by little children. We were to play quietly in another room when she was around. In these letters, she was a mother of 6 children loving her very busy household. She was planting a garden and sewing a coat for her youngest (my mother). She marveled how children grow so fast, and complained that teens seem to think that the house cleans up after itself. It was interesting to see another side of her from her letters.
Reading the letters together enriched my relationship with my mother. She shared her memories of the time they spent living in a cabin in the Tennessee Valley. From there, the family moved to the east coast where kids made fun of her for “talking funny”. She recounted how often she moved, and why family has always been her primary focus. As the youngest of 6 her next oldest brother was her best friend through many family moves.
We shared similarities and differences between generations of mothers and the importance of education for women. I learned more about my grandparents, how they met and the impact their relationship had on my grandfather’s religious views. A handful of letters opened up so many conversations. Understanding my family’s history in more depth helps me see where their lives have impacted mine. Stories of struggles and of resilience.
Letter writing can be a way to connect to people that matter. The process of sending a letter gives you time to think about the recipient. I have a friend I have been writing to since 1983. I only write her once or twice a year now but every letter is another link in a very long chain. The time it takes to decide on the paper or card, to write even a quick note and to look up her address is time spent reminiscing about our relationship. This long-term friendship is a source of resilience for us both.
Letters can be fun and a bright spot to both send and receive. It is exciting getting something in the mail that is not an ad or a bill. Recently, a friend bought a pack of humorous post cards and had fun sending them out. They used permanent markers to send birthday post cards and a few random cards. It was doodling with a purpose. As we head into Fall and Winter, we plan to experiment with more letter writing to see how this builds or maintains relationships.
Recently, we at Learn Model Teach have been designing postcards. Ways to be resilient reflected in an image and a word. If you would like to receive a postcard from us, please share your snail mail address with us. You can send it via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply compete the form below. Either way, we will send a note on a specially designed resilience post card.
We look forward to connecting with you!