Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 in Articles, Blog, Dinosaur Dad, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Get Your Kids Writing.

We all know and some of us marvel at how quickly we are becoming a paperless society, but let’s not become a non-communicating society. Some researchers actually believe that someday, soon, kids won’t even know how to write using pen and paper! Already, cursive writing seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Of course, our kid’s thumbs have become oddly strong from texting. Even just jotting down a few lines in a “thank you” card is too primitive for today’s society, but hand writing a letter, card, note or speech is a skill well worth preserving. Hand writing in school has been linked to higher reading and spelling scores.  Also, hand writing forces us to slow down and think deeper about the subject and when you hand write a note or letter, it’s less spur-of-the-moment and there is no “SEND” button, so there is less chance of embarrassement.

When you take a pen or pencil in your hand, you are taking on an extension of your arm and hand that comes directly from your brain, physically through your body to the paper. The impersonal “chore” of writing to someone through text, e.mail, etc., is just that….a chore. Writing should be a way to express ourselves in a creative way. Instead, we have “dumbed down” the process to the point of not even needing grammar or spelling.

Another casualty of the disappearing hand writing trend is how we speak. If you have ever read a letter from soldiers to their loved ones from the Civil War era or even WWII, the language is descriptive, romantic and puts you in the mind of the author. Those old letters also prove the point that hand written documents and letters serve not only as correspondence but as historical records!  Writing by hand is also the ultimate way to spill your guts…privately!  Writing in a journal has long been a good way for a man to empty his thoughts and do some self therapy.  Whenever I talk to a guy who is going through a tough time such as divorce, I tell him that the thing that rally helped get me through was to write, everyday, in my journal.  it is a way to dump a lot of negativity or to just vent and take a deep breath.

So how can a dad, in today’s world, get his kids…in fact the whole family to appreciate the value of hand writing a note or two? As with most things….it comes down to setting an example and pointing that example out in a positive way. Make sure to keep writing supplies on hand and accessible. If the notion does hit someone in your home, they need to be able to get to the tools needed. Maybe even make a gift of personal stationary to each of your kids. Then, of course, suggest opportunities to hand write, such as a “thank you” note to gramma or grampa, letters to friends and a dad can make a novel gift out of a well thought out, hand written letter to his kids. When each of my two oldest graduated high school, I took a week each time to sit and think about their life, my life, what I wanted for them and what they should expect from themselves and then I carefully wrote the letters with a very nice, fountain pen (remember those?), on parchment paper then sealed the letters in envelopes using wax! My son pulled me aside at his party and thanked me for writing that letter. He told me it made him choke up and that he would keep it for his whole life and refer back to it when he needed it.

One last thing and benefit of writing letters and notes is that once you start hand writing simple correspondence, you’ll start getting them back. I have encouraged my kids to make “pen pals” and now they write and receive letters to and from all over the country. It’s always exciting, a mini-Christmas when they get a letter in the mail.   So c’mon dad, talk to your family and maybe even start leaving the kids little notes….then go buy them some stationary.



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