US Stamps

Do children know how to write and mail a letter?

Mar 22, 2023, 8 AM
The United States issued six 15¢ stamps in 1980 (Scott 1805-1810) for National Letter Writing Week, including this one with the message “Letters Lift Spirits.”

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

The art of letter writing might be a skill not utilized to its fullest by the younger generation. A number of articles on the subject have been published in the last few years.

A CBS News article from 2021 carried the headline “Most Americans haven’t written a personal letter on paper in over five years” and included the statistic that 15 percent of adults had never sent a letter.

A November 2022 report for the British newspaper Daily Mail had a headline that included “One in three children have NEVER penned a letter,” but there was a glimmer of encouragement in the article: “While many mostly speak to their friends online, 84 per cent said they would be excited to get post through the letterbox.”

And that excitement is real. This past summer, my oldest son made a new friend while taking swimming lessons. At the end of the couple weeks of lessons, my son provided our mailing address to his new friend and asked if he would send a letter to him.

The friend ultimately did, a number of months later, but the joy my son got from receiving the piece of mail from his friend was quite evident.

And thinking about the joy a letter can bring and the excitement mentioned in the quote from the Daily Mail, writing and sending letters is something many of us could do more often.

I have a couple of friends for whom the mail is the only way we keep in touch. This means postcards, sometimes a short note and a couple of cards around the holidays, but those are meaningful connections.

I encourage all of our readers to take a moment to send a short note, letter or postcard to a friend or family member, especially to those of a younger generation. That excitement of receiving mail is still there, and who knows, you might even get a note back.

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