Musings, leadership tidbits and quotes posted by a retired Navy Captain (really just a high performing 2nd Class Petty Officer) who hung up his uniform a bit too early. He still wears his Navy service on his sleeve. He needs to get over that. "ADVANCE WARNING - NO ORIGINAL THOUGHT!" A "self-appointed" lead EVANGELIST for the "cryptologic community". Keeping CRYPTOLOGY alive-one day and Sailor at a time. 2015 is 80th Anniversary of the Naval Security Group.
Monday, March 9, 2015
A subject of perpetual concern for me - This has been edited for brevity
Is Letter Writing A Lost Art? You can read the entire article HERE.
One of the best parts of my day is getting the mail. I know this is not the case for everyone. Bills come in the mail. Useless flyers from new dentists and Chinese restaurants in town also come in the mail. But every evening when I head out to my mailbox…
I hope there will be a letter.
The act of purchasing a card, writing a note, buying a stamp, and mailing the letter spoke of care and love louder than any email I ever received.
“And none will hear the postman’s knock without a quickening of the heart. For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?” – W.H. Auden
Then, there is the matter of thank you letters. I will never forget all the times as a kid when my mother made me sit down at the dining room table and write thank you notes to anyone who’d ever sent me a check, a gift, or did something nice for me. I think she was trying to convey the importance of acknowledgement when another human being displays a kind and generous nature. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve sent a wedding gift only to never hear from the bride or groom that it was even received. Bummer.
It’s not about getting a huge ovation so you can stroke your ego about how awesomely kind you are, but it is nice to know that your friend appreciated the time and care you took to send a gift. There have been times when I’ve neglected to send a thank you note for a gift and felt like the biggest jerk, riddled with remorse, and paralyzed by laziness. I am not proud of these lapses in acknowledgement because the old fashioned part of me thinks it’s only polite to say thank you. I’ve sent thank you emails and texts for the simple immediacy of letting someone know how a gift they’ve sent has thrilled me, but part of me fights against this instant gratification of the digital age for the simple fact that it’s not as personal as a letter.
Call me a sentimental fool, but I worry that the art of letter writing will be utterly lost, disappearing into the binary code of the future. Many schools no longer teach cursive handwriting, and children grow up learning how to use iPads and computers from infancy. Heck, my cats even enjoy the occasional iPad game. But something beautiful is vanishing. I can recognize who a letter is from by the handwriting on the envelope. Handwriting is part of our identity, and yet we have little need for it in the digital age, making a letter all the more special and personal.
Despite murmurings about its pending collapse, I hope the US Postal Service can hang in there and people will be able to send letters for many years to come. I also hope that more people are encouraged to resurrect this lost art of communicating with the handwritten word. There are so many reasons to write a letter to someone you care about, if only to know that it might bring a much-needed smile to their face.