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article imageOp-Ed: How to teach your son the value of a handwritten card

By Daniel Taibleson     Oct 31, 2013 in Lifestyle
Despite the rise of e-cards, when you care enough to send the very best, a handwritten card is still the best way to get your message across.
Americans purchase 6.5 billion greeting cards a year compared to only 500 million e-cards sent annually, according to the Greeting Card Association. Even though one in three Americans now send electronic Valentine's Day cards, according to SOASTA, a Working Mother survey found 50 percent of women would feel annoyed receiving an e-Valentine, and three percent would feel unloved.
More than 90 percent of moms would find a physically mailed, handwritten Mother's Day card more meaningful than an e-card or even a small gift, USPS has found. If you want your son to know how to make the women in his life feel special and want to improve his ability to form stronger business relationships, it pays to teach him the value of sending a handwritten card.
Why Handwritten Cards Mean More
Why do handwritten cards carry extra emotional impact? Psychologists have found the sense of touch is one of the strongest carriers of emotion, communicating a wider range of feeling than even voice or facial expression, according to a recent research summary published in Psychology Today. Digital cards limit this tactile dimension to a mouse click or push of a button. A traditional card can be held and felt, carrying more weight both physically and emotionally.
The tactile and visual dimensions of handwritten cards give them a greater sense of permanency than e-cards. An e-card may get read once and deleted, never to be seen again. A physical card may be hung on a refrigerator for display, or saved in an album as a permanent keepsake.
Because handwritten cards are suitable for display, they also carry a touch of class, conveying the sender cares enough to invest in something nice. Sending hand-signed Minted holiday cards to family and friends tells them you went out of your way to let them know they're special. However the card is created, the vital point is the physical end-product carries an authentic signature.
The Importance of Handwriting
When teaching your son to sign cards, it's also important to teach the value of good handwriting. Decades of research have shown good handwriting correlates with better grades, a fact reinforced by a recent Saperstein Associates summit on the need for teaching handwriting today. Bad handwriting gives teachers negative impressions, leading them to grade the same content lower than they would otherwise.
A handwritten note sends a personal touch, saying something about you and how you feel about the other person. Careful handwriting shows you care about the other person enough to put some effort into what you write. Sloppy handwriting conveys there is not much value on what you write, or the person you're writing to.
To improve your son's handwriting, consider signing him up for a course in traditional penmanship instruction, such as the Spencerian Method or the Palmer Method, or finding an online textbook teaching one of these methods. For a deeper appreciation of handwriting, you can enroll your son in a calligraphy course. Taking the class with him will give you an opportunity to build your relationship and improve your own handwriting in the process.
Teaching by Example
The best way to teach the value of sending handwritten cards is by example. Get in the habit of sending your son handwritten cards for special occasions, and invite him to sign cards you send to other family members and friends.
When should you send cards? Greeting Card Association statistics show among non-holiday occasions, birthday cards are by far the most popular type, constituting 60 percent of sales in this category, followed by anniversary, get well, friendship, and sympathy cards, all in the range of six to eight percent apiece.
Christmas is the most popular holiday, generating 60 percent of sales, followed by Valentine's Day at 25 percent, Mother's Day at four percent, and Easter and Father's Day at three percent each. Naturally, one fringe benefit of teaching your son to send handwritten cards is you boost your odds of getting a nice Father's Day card.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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