Connecting Over Distance

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One generation shall praise Thy works to another” (Psalm 145:4).

I struggle with this since none of my family members live in our city. As I grappled with maintaining a touchpoint, especially with my grandchildren, I remembered that censorship of social media and texts was common in our days in Asia. Maybe a handwritten note would be something the grandchildren would not only save but would be less likely of future censorship. When I mentioned this to my daughter, she quipped, “Yes, I don’t think that our post office has begun opening snail mail yet, especially envelopes with Snoopy stickers!”

So toward the end of the summer, I began sending my grandchildren handwritten notes, hoping that something shared might make a difference one day. These individual cards are very simple, limited by space. Some include stories about when I was their age and some about when we were together. Some tell them why I am proud of them, while others teach a lesson like choosing good friends, handling anger, or acting respectfully. A few include stories and pictures of their mother (or ancestors they do not know), and a few incorporate how God has directed our American history.

My goal was to mail one note every seven days, not for every child but in general. I’ve done a little better than this, gradually laying aside the worry of a schedule and merely writing as time permits. Now, after about ten weeks, I am beginning to hear positive responses from the children.

For example, one week after I randomly read about William Penn, I decided to include one of his quotes into a note. “(The) God, that has given it (this land) to me through many difficulties will, I believe, bless and make it the seed of a nation.” Penn, a Quaker land-owner in colonial America, actively recruited religiously persecuted Christians to settle on his New England property.

A few days later, I received a text from my thirteen-year-old grandson saying he was excited to read this information. His class was studying colonial America that week, had a paper due in three days, and needed information about (you guessed it) William Penn. Even though I had not understood why I sent the tidbit, God directed it in His perfect timing.

Since that time, I’ve heard encouragements about other notes. Two of the grands especially enjoyed the inclusion of their mother’s schoolwork when she was their age. Our youngest was especially thrilled when I recently included scraps from my craft drawer in her envelope. She ran to tell her mother, “Well! I can tell Kiki loves me!” (Yes, nothing says love like random bits of leftover art projects).

Our third grader liked hearing my humorous orthodontia experience when I was in third grade. And our nine-year-old grandson liked the note about evolution. “Kiki, you compared the big bang theory to all the pieces of my iPad mysteriously and correctly coming together by themselves. That IS pretty ridiculous, huh?

Spending time with my grandchildren is precious, but there are always interruptions. So, in the meantime, as I “number my days,” sitting down to write a note helps me continue a connection with them. And this method may be when they are more likely to listen. Hopefully, blending humorous and memorable information helps create an attentiveness for other notes that simply teach His Word.