I was browsing through two of my Letitia Baldrige books on manners while writing and posting last week about her recent death and came upon a very touching chapter she wrote on how a child learns to communicate a kind thought.
I was immediately drawn into the chapter because in today's world, it is a bit unusual to come across a child of any age who says "please" and "thank you" all on their own.
In Baldrige's book, "More Than Manners! Raising Today's Kids to Have Kind Manners & Good Hearts," she discusses the need to teach young boys and girls how to write a thank you note or at the very least, a thank you email. Of course, she says, the children will complain and won't want to do it, but still it's important to teach them how to communicate with others and learn how to put their thoughts into words.
Also, most children love to receive mail that is delivered to their house and writing a note shows them that they can learn to give of themselves as well as receive from others.
Thank you notes and letters to Santa Claus are the most common type of correspondence a child will engage in but there are also other kinds of letters a child might write. Specifically, Baldrige says, she has seen letters of condolence from children that are truly special!
My mother taught me in elementary school how to go up to someone at a funeral or a wake and sincerely say "I am sorry for your loss" but I don't think I could have written a note. Especially to a friend or playmate my age.
But the secret is to speak from the heart.
I will now quote directly from Baldrige's book because her words are perfect and this child's letter really touched me deeply:
"I have seen many unforgettable written communications children have sent other children. They have an impact that reaches far beyond the person who opens the envelope. One letter of condolence written truly from the heart was composed by an eleven-year-old girl with a mild case of dyslexia. She wrote to her best friend, the daughter of a lawyer friend of mine, on the occasion of the lawyer's wife's death. Not only did he borrow that letter from his daughter to show to his family and all the neighbors, but he sent copies to all of his friends, and showed it to all of his close business associates. He gave it to me to read at the beginning of a seminar in New York. The young girl had written to his daughter:
I'm very sorry to hear that your Mom dyed yesterday. I know she ment lots to you, and you meant lots to her. Your're rite, she was a very spesial Mom. She was so nice to us kids, even when we ate her kake when she said not to. No one made choclat kake like her. You must be fealing sad. Some day you'll see her again in heven. She must have lots of friends up there. (I hope she won't have to make too many kakes.) When can you come over to play? I bot a new game, really neet. Come over this wekend. I dont want you and your Dad to fel sad."
Oh my goodness! Is that not the sweetest letter ever?
I had to share it with you...this child's wisdom and ability to express emotion blew me away.