The other day I was listening to a sermon message about encouragement and what an amazing gift it is to encourage those around us. My mother is my best example of this principle. As a child my mom would randomly put little notes of encouragement in my lunchbox. It was always a special treat to open my lunchbox and find a note from her with words of support in regards to a test I had to take or to cheer me on for an extracurricular activity that I was trying out for. Sometimes they just said “I love you” and that was enough.
As I entered college these “lunchbox notes” became encouragement by mail. She still upholds this pattern of encouragement today, not just with me but with other family members and friends. Following in her footsteps, though not as closely; I will from time to time send out a random card to those around me just because I am thinking of them.
These notes and cards have meant the world to me, however; I had no idea what effect they had on other recipients of this practice. In an age where electronic correspondence is the norm and mailboxes are filled with bills and advertisement, receiving a hand written letter or card can create a joyful experience at the mailbox of the addressee.
Why is this type of encouragement important in the era of FB, Twitter and email? Because there is something very special and thoughtful about sending a note via mail.
In ancient times (way back in the early to late 1900’s) people communicated via mail with family and friends in other areas of the country and world. Handwritten letters were something of an art form and the writer took great care in expressing their thoughts and feelings about the beneficiary of the letter. As technology took over as the primary form of communication, this type of correspondence became almost obsolete as it takes about a second to send an email or post a comment on a social media site.
Sitting down and writing a letter or sending a card takes intention, thought and time, something that, in our fast-paced world is in short supply. However; it doesn’t have to be time-consuming and the lasting impression on the part of the person receiving the encouragement is priceless.
Tips on Encouragement by Mail:
- You don’t have to write War & Peace, sometimes it enough to write “I’m thinking of you today”.
- Keep cards, stamps and an address list handy so as to easily access them as someone comes to your mind. (Your local Dollar Store most likely sells boxes of note cards for $1)
- Get in the habit of random card sending. (OK I know that being in the habit of something random is somewhat of an oxymoron, however; if you start with 1 day a month to send out cards to the people in your life you will then begin to increase the frequency of that “random habit” over time)
- Start today! There are people in your life who need encouragement and taking 5 minutes to send it could make a huge difference in their life.
During this holiday season there may be people in your life who have experienced a loss this past year of a loved one, ability, marriage, job or home. Sending a non-holiday, special letter of encouragement can mean the world to someone who is struggling during this “season of good will and cheer.”
Make the effort today to send a note of encouragement and love to someone in your life who has been on your heart and mind. You will be amazed by what happens.