Sunday, 7 September 2014

Writing - A Pleasure And Yet So Hard At Times

We all have those days when we seem to have no time for writing to our sponsored kids. Most of those times come unexpectedly - suddenly something happens that turns life upside down and we struggle with making time or with finding the energy to write something.

Sometimes our daughters and sons get sick, or want an unusual amount of attention.

Sometimes it's predictable - which is probably the best when it comes to writing to our sponsor/correspondence kids - because it gives us time to plan ahead.

I had all three happen plenty of times since I first started sponsoring with Compassion, and by now I have come up with a few "survival" tricks.

Write in advance


When I know I have a very busy time coming up in my life, I try to plan theme letters for my kids, preferably with a topic that is interesting for both boys and girls equally. I might even write them ahead of time so that I only have to hit "send" on the day I want to send it.

In 2012 when my son was born I used the days of maternity leave before his birth to write letters in advance (I only had one sponsor child back then, but I wanted to make sure) - in the end I had letters done for four months. After all, I had no idea how my life would be turned around by this little miracle in my life. I shared my favorite Bible verses, made a lapbook of Germany and Mexico, and wrote about my pets. I kept the topics timeless so I could send them whenever I felt like it.

Which happened to be a pretty good idea, because I was able to squeeze in a bit of writing every now and then and it took me about 8 or 9 months to send off all the pre-written letters.

Use the online tool


Much harder to plan are those times when life throws us into unexpected busy waters. I'm sure we all know that feeling when life seems to be so overwhelming that we can barely find time to sit down to write a letter.

Those are the times I keep my letters short and I will always use the online tool on the Compassion website, which is such a wonderful gift from my viewpoint. I only have to write the letter one time and I can send it to as many kids as I want too.  All I have to change are the child's personal details.
That sure saves time.

Be honest with your kids

 

In those letters I tell my kids that I was thinking of them, that I pray for them and that I hope they are, together with their families, in good health.
I tell them that my life is pretty busy at the moment, and that due to that fact I have to keep the letter short. It is very important for me to make sure I add that writing to them isn't a must to me but a pleasure, but that due to the circumstances I simply have to keep the letters short.

  

Use postcards 

 

Another time saving way to write to your kids is using postcards. I loved receiving postcards when I was a kid - okay who am I kidding? I still LOVE getting postcards and my sponsor and correspondence kids regularly tell me how much the love to get photos. They have beautiful pictures and the space is also very limited - so postcards are perfect.

I have sent my kids postcards this past week, because I am right in the middle of a working-marathon.  I work nearly three weeks without a complete day off (and we're only talking about two half days off in this whole time).  My work hours are up to 12 hours per day and my shifts are split into morning and evening shifts. The time I have off in the afternoon I spend with my family or I try to catch up a bit of sleep which I need to survive this crazy time.
But I was able to squeeze in a bit of writing time, spread over six afternoons.  I told my kids about the places on the front of the cards and hope that they will enjoy this little note along with the photos.



Ask your friends for help (or other sponsors)

 

So far this is only an idea that has popped into my mind a short while ago, and I haven't done it myself. But I sure would offer my help if someone approached me with this question, and I would also ask for help this way.

If things get really busy for us, why not ask a friend or another sponsor to write to our kids? Maybe even someone from another state/country/city. I'm not talking about long letters, again I think a postcard would do. Your friends can write about the things visable on the postcard or what you told them about the kid they write to.


I have sent postcards to some of Teresa's kids, but not because Teresa had no time to write herself but because I felt like it. The kids kept sending me greeting and asked questions about me, so I thought it would be fun to send them a card. They loved them. 

We can only imagine how special our kids feel when they find out that someone besides their sponsor would also takes the time to send them a postcard.

And if times are that busy, all we need to do is add a small note telling our sponsor kids that for a change, a friend of us has wrote them something. Our kids get a special letter and we barely have to do anything.


This last survival trick only works when you have time to do a little bit of crafting, but you are not in the mood to write a lot.

Be creative


Earlier this year I had to work much more shifts than usual and my little boy had been in need of a lot of mum-attention. I had to sit down beside him while he played, there was no chance to sit at the table and write. I needed to be by his side, most of the time even in physical contact with him, to watch him and comment on his playing. There simply was no chance to use his play time to write a letter, which I'm usually able to do.

I ended up preparing hearts for my kids. I got myself plenty of colourful paper and cut hearts out for all of them. I could do that easily on the floor, watching Finn play while he soent a good amount of time watching me cutting out the hearts.
I made two hearts out of one A4 format paper - which narrowed down the space for writing. I didn't write much on those hearts, not much personal information I mean, I didn't tell about the happenings in my life. I just said how proud I was of my kids, how much I loved them, and again that I was praying for them. 

Doing those hearts gave me the feeling of doing something special, and it fitted perfectly into the time I had.  I didn't feel the need for writing long letters.

It was a perfect solution for me back then.




I would love to read what you do when things get awfully busy in life and you don't have time to write to your kids the way you usually do. So please leave a comment and share your ideas.

2 comments:

  1. I love all these ideas!!! In preparation for my 2nd child to be born last March, I wrote out the themes of each of my paper letters and organized fun extras for every-other month. I also typed up, in advance, letters about men and women of the faith and sidewalk games to send online each month! It has made this year so easy! All I do is copy and paste and then duplicate for all my kids.

    I also have written to my parents' children when they're busy!

    And I might have to try out your heart idea. I bet Juanito would enjoy decorating them with stickers too…. I'll keep that in mind! Thanks for the inspiration!

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