How often does anyone take the time these days to write a letter and mail it?
Texting, emailing and social media have made it all too easy to get in touch with the press of a button. Some say letter writing has gone the way of the quill pen.
But that’s not the case everywhere.
I recently learned that a group of area schoolchildren were regularly writing letters to law enforcement officers and to military service men and women.
Could a younger generation of tech-enthused 6- and 7-year-olds help reinvigorate the craft of letter writing?
Turns out, these first-graders composed and mailed dozens of letters of encouragement, support and thanks to troops and area police officers, all in an effort to “make somebody else feel happy,” said John Walker, 7.
Their letters are going to be among the 15 billion cards and other pieces of mail the U.S. Postal Service will deliver this season.
Though Walker had never written or mailed a letter before, he enjoyed it, despite the additional work of rewriting rough drafts and cleaning up his grammar.
“I have to check my periods and letters,” he said. “And you have to make sure you write it good.”
His teacher, Jessica Daigle, of the Math, Science and Arts Academy in Plaquemine, introduced her first-graders to activities on giving their opinions and writing persuasive letters, which led to students expressing their gratitude and thankfulness toward people in their community, she said.
“The letters help students become aware of why we are free in this country and why we have what we have,” Daigle said.
“They see it as a writing assignment, but we make it real life,” she added. “By getting them involved early, you hope that it carries over into the rest of their lives.”
Walker certainly gets it. “Thank you for protecting our city,” he wrote in his letter to a police officer.
Caydence Easley, 6, poured her heart out, too. “If we don’t have police, bad people would hurt people and they wouldn’t be put in time out,” she said.
Easley’s comments made me smile. She understands that consequences, like time-out for a school infraction, will follow acts of misbehavior.
Just as her teacher has to make decisions about discipline, so too must police officers make swift decisions about apprehending law breakers.
“They (police) help us not be bad and to be good people and to follow the rules,” she said.
Her classmate, Landon Martinez, 6, agreed.
“I thanked the policemen for arresting the bad guys and putting them in jail because we don’t want anybody to get killed or hurt,” he said in his letter.
Thank you first-graders, for keeping letter writing alive.
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.