Handwritten letters are a thing of the past. Email and text messaging are taking over. Think of the implications. We have books of letters from famous people lining library shelves today. Will there be books of emails? I doubt it.
My parents wrote letters during World War II. They both saved their letters, and a few years ago I donated them to my dad’s alma mater so they could be preserved. Letters from both the husband and the wife during times of war are rare. Unfortunately today “snail mail” is a thing of the past.
My wife and I wrote letters to each other while we were dating. Now, I send her an email to share a thought with her. Things are changing.
One of the great ministries of Sherwood are the prayer cards we send every week. I think one reason they are so special to people is they are handwritten. It’s a personal note. It took more time and cost more than an email.
Today’s generation will share their thoughts, but they will be lost in cyberspace. This is a sad reality and will affect generations to come who will not know how to take pen in hand and write out the thoughts of their heart.
Earlier this year, walletpop.com did a story about the top 25 things vanishing from America. Taking the #9 spot was handwritten letters. Here’s what Tom Barlow had to say about the trend:
“In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion emails were sent per day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world’s population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half a trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?
While precise statistics aren’t available, common opinion strongly suggests the hand-written note has become the dodo of the communications species. If so, I’m saddened. The very act of writing by hand slows the mind, forces it into a more contemplative state in which precisely chosen words convey nuances of emotion that could never be captured in a quick “Wassup?”
Certainly, the barriers for a rebirth of handwritten notes are significant; postage, stationary cost, the lack of immediacy, and the time and care required in its preparation. For me, an additional hurdle is my hen-scratch penmanship.
Nonetheless, nothing expresses respect for another like a handwritten letter, and no love e-mail, text message or cell phone call will ever be carefully bundled into a memory box and savored for years to come. In a world that thrives on acceleration, the handwritten letter calls us to a time more deliberate, elegant, and gracious.”
So go make someone’s day and send them a handwritten letter!
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.