Bring Back Handwritten Letters

In the age of texting, Snap Chat, Instagram, IMs, DMs, and probably lots of other Ms that I don’t even know about, handwritten letters are beginning to feel like a lost art. The type of letters where we actually take the time to write “thanks” rather than “thx”, “I miss you” instead of “imy”, and even “that was funny” instead of “lol”.

Yes, technology makes quick connections accessible and easy and there is great value in that. But, how good does it feel to receive a handwritten letter? How good does it feel to know that someone carved out time in their day to sit and write to you? Not a quick one-handed text while stirring dinner or a quick snap at a stop light, but a letter that made the person take a true, intentional pause from their busy life because you are worth it to them? That’s special.

My grandmother is a rockstar at writing letters and cards. She sends them to everyone – her children, Grandma's handwriting on a lettergrandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers that she has heard are in need of love. To those of us lucky enough to call her “Nanny White Hair”, she signs her letters and cards “Love you oodles”. The loops of the “oodles” look a little different now as as she is in her mid-90’s and her hands don’t work like they used to. But, just like taking the time to write a handwritten note, “oodles” is worth the effort to her. These handwritten letters are so special my thoughtful mother made Nanny’s “love you oodles” signature line into a keychain for all of us. It is a daily reminder to be more intentional with our time and with those that we love.

The pandemic has reminded us of the need to stay connected. Let’s challenge ourselves to be thorough in capitalizing on all of the opportunities we have to connect — not just the easy ones. Let’s add back letter writing to our connection toolbox.

And, let’s give the letter writing process all the special attention it deserves. A moment of intentional pause in a space surrounded by things that bring us joy. Maybe a cup of tea and a beautiful pen? Each time I receive a letter from my sweet Nanny I envision her sitting at her kitchen table, gripping her pen tightly, her tiny dog nearby, gospel music playing softly, hot cider in her “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” mug, and her house perfectly tidy and organized.Grandma

Knowing that she had this beautiful moment of pause is as much of a gift to me as the letter itself. Please know that you are worth this pause. And, those that you write to are worth it, too.

Jacquelyn Eidson
Hello, I’m Jacque (pronounced Jackie!). I have been married to my high school sweetheart for nearly 23 years (we have 3 years of really bad prom pictures to prove it!). We have 4 children that keep us on our toes; Allie is 17, Caroline 15, Jane 13, and Wade is 9. After 12 years of being away from the full-time workforce, I returned just over a year ago as a small business coach for Mizzou’s Business Development Program. I also teach part-time for the UMKC Bloch School of Management. In the very early mornings, I am finishing up the final stretch of an Organizational Psychology PhD program; my dissertation research is the impact of mentorship on identity and self-efficacy in mothers returning to work after an extended child-rearing leave. I love being involved in this incredible community and especially love volunteering for educational initiatives. I am happy to be here and happy to meet each of you!