Friday, July 12, 2013

Pen pals: A lost tradition?

Wheat grains & stalks, hawk feathers, toy, letter.
Do kids have pen pals anymore? I remember having one briefly as a kid.

I hadn't given it one bit of thought until, as usual, Brady gave me the idea.

We were in Colorado camping a few weeks ago and Brady heard kids up the hill. It couldn't have been any more exciting to him if a band of superheroes landed in our campsite.

"Can we go up and see them? Please, please, please." Okay, kid, come on. 

So we - or rather Brady - made friends out in the middle of nowhere. When it was time to leave he was SO sad. He and the 6-year-old boy hugged each other so hard, the boy's grandmother remarked how boys can even making hugging into a competition.

I thought, well, maybe they could be pen pals.

The boy's birthday was coming up so we made a package for him and his 9-year-old sister. It included wheat grains, wheat stalks, hawk feathers, a card with a letter from Brady and a toy monster truck from Brady's stash.

We got the kids' return letters plus a flower and some Despicable Me popsicle stick toys. Brady told everybody about it and couldn't wait to mail the next package. And when we travel to Colorado next, we'll get to see them again.

Gosh I think pen pals are an awesome idea. Do your kids have cousins in another state? Or do you have an old college friend with kids their age? Make them a pen pal!

Pen pals teach us life is different somewhere else. The world doesn't stop at the borders of our town. It teaches patience and the joy of anticipation. It goes beyond the instantaneous nature of our society.

I'm excited about it too. I think it will be a fun family activity.

14 comments:

  1. I remember when I was younger I had quite a few. I had one all the way in Italy that wrote to me. It was such fun because at the time I collected stamps. :) Kids (well mine at least) don't have pen pals but they do have text pals. :)

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    1. Italy, how fun! I hope we can keep this one going, hopefully because we'll see them a couple of times a year it will work out. I personally don't text, so I can't imagine text pals, LOL. It is neat to keep in touch with someone far away though.

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  2. Great post. You're doing a great job to teach your son to be kind and thoughtful! He may have made a lifelong friend here.

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    1. Thank you! I like to get him thinking of someone else whenever he can. It seems the world is self-focused lately and I have to work at not doing that myself! I hope the friendship continues :)

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  3. I had a pen pal in elementary school. For a while 2 of my kids had a pen pal from doing Christmas shoe boxes. That was exciting!

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    1. How neat your kiddos had pen pals and also were doing Christmas shoe boxes. Gosh they can learn so much from these experiences.

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  4. I didn't have a pen pal I did not know--but in junior high and high school, I had friends I met at camp, and we wrote letters for a few years--before the age of email and texting!

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    1. I just love the idea of handwritten letters, I'm afraid the are going by the wayside! They are so personal and involve taking one's time to totally focus on someone else. I wonder if Brady will make good friends at camp one day?

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  5. My girls are doing a modern version of pen pals. They met friends at church camp a couple of years ago, and they have been texting each other.

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    1. How cool! They are connected through church and can keep each other encouraged. That's neat they have kept the friendship this long!

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  6. I sure had pen pals! Today I guess it would be email pals! Or, Facebook friends!

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    1. LOL, yes, the modern day version. I still like the old throwback with handwritten words and little bits of lives intertwined. I guess I'm old-fashioned :)

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  7. What a great idea. I remember as a kid we would have pen pals at school writing to other children in near by districts. This is a fantastic way to not only teach them on a higher social level but practice their writing skills too!!

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    1. Yes, the writing practice is a great bonus!

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