There's something very special about a hand written letter, but I wonder if it is soon to become something of a museum relic as our technology-savvy children tap merrily away on their iPhones, iPads and laptops, barely able to grasp a pen between their Playstation-infected thumbs?
Letters are fascinating, wonderful things. Volumes of books have been written, based purely on the exchange of letters; be they between lovers, historical figures, famous writers or just between friends. These historical records of bygone times make for fascinating reading and provide a very personal insight into people's lives which I can only assume will be virtually impossible to get through rediscovered blog sites and Facebook pages in decades to come.
An excellent article in last Saturday's Guardian highlighted one mother's concern about the fact that the only interactions she has with her teenages sons are via texts, emails, Facebook pages, iPods and mobile phones. A worry no doubt shared by many parents of teenagers. A worry shared by me - a parent of pre-schoolers.
In these gadget-infested times, I find it really quite sad that my children won't know the joy of a letter falling on the doormat. I've written before about holding back on The Stuff which ever threatens to engulf our lives and although I'm not luddite enough to think I can resist technology completely in my children's lives, I really feel I owe it to them to continue the tradition of letter writing - in and amongst the typed words and abbreviations and LOLs and Gr8s and whatever else is heading my way.
I remember the joy of receiving a handwritten envelope addressed to me from my German pen friend. I remember the foreign, unfamiliar stamps being exciting, let alone the strange looking handwriting of a German girl, the same age as me, and her simple tales of life in a foreign country. As soon as my children can write, I'm going to encourage them to have a pen friend - a 'real' pen friend who they write real letters to with an actual pen!
What do you think? Do your children write letters? Do they receive letters? Or does it actually matter, as long as they are communicating? Answers on a hand written postcard please....!