When I was in college, I loved getting mail. It meant that somebody, at some point, was thinking of me. I still like getting mail. There’s just something about seeing an envelope or a postcard with my name on it that makes me want to read it right there in the road (not the best idea.)
Working with Middle School students, I know that they don’t get much in the mail. They get friend requests, text messages, emails, and voicemails, but probably not too much in the actual mail box. That’s why I believe that whenever you can send a HANDWRITTEN anything to a student, it’s a win. I emphasize “handwritten” because in their world of stale communication, a typed letter with a signature at the bottom doesn’t do the trick.
Let your students (or the people you work with) get to know your handwriting. Let them see you misspell a word that you have to scribble out or rewrite. Let them see a smiley face or a “PS…” at the bottom. Let them see that they are worth grabbing a pen and spending 1 minute to let them know that you’re thinking about them or praying for them.
Every Sunday we get prayer requests from students or responses from the talk and if they say, “Please pray for me and my sister to get along” or check the box that says “I want to be known as someone after God’s own heart”, I think they deserve something from me (not just signed by me, but literally from me) that says I’m praying for them.
Don’t just be satisfied to send mass communication out to everyone and think it’s doing the trick. People, regardless of age, like to feel valued, and one of the best ways to do that is with a HANDWRITTEN postcard or a letter home. I was reminded myself of this as I was reading Simply Strategic Stuff (Chapter 78, Pg. 162). Thanks Tim and Tony for the reminder to keep it up because it DOES matter.