What’s In A Letter?
Julie Cole is one of the founders of Mabel’s Labels Inc. (www.mabel.ca) and a proud mother expecting baby #6!
It's true that I don’t exactly follow the rules of old-school etiquette when it comes to pint-sized manners. I prefer that other people’s children call me by my first name and will shudder if addressed as “Mrs”. And while no one likes to see kids getting too wound up in public, I do expect and tolerate a bit of energy and carry-on if they are dragged into the grocery store or bank. I don’t consider this behaviour impolite. Along the same lines, I don’t think it’s rude for a toddler to be fidgeting at the dinner table 10 minutes after being seated – it’s simply as much as a child that age can handle.
Having said that, in a house with as many children as mine (make that five with a sixth on the way), manners are still a must. My children are expected to act respectfully and reminders for “please” and “thank-you” are issued throughout the day.
As parents ourselves, the team at Mabel’s Labels can relate to our customers’ concerns about the lack of letter writing in these times of growing dependence on technology. Will our children come to rely completely on instant forms of communication like e-mail and text messaging – forms of communication that don’t require grammar or spelling? And will the skills that come from sitting down and writing letters be lost?
And so based on customer demand, we recently launched the “Write On!” Personalized Stationery kits.
Louise Fox, a leading children’s etiquette educator in Canada and the U.S. confirms letter writing contributes to an assortment of skills beyond those of just writing. She notes that letter writing teaches children to be courteous and gracious. In short, a kid who writes letters is a kid with who knows a thing or two about good manners.
For my children, letter writing has helped them connect to the older generations in our family. My children have grandparents and great-grandparents, some living internationally. Since many of these family elders are not online, pen pal relationships have been formed between them and my children.
For our family, letter writing has not only provided my children with valuable skills, it has provided them with valuable relationships.