|Photo credit: www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/ on flickr|
Writing letters is a lost art. This loss was felt by a dear friend's father-in-law and he took action. He writes beautiful letters to his grandsons and gives them a crisp two dollar bill when they write back. Grandpa Joe is a generous man and included my son in the arrangement as Mack has no living grandparents of his own. I was surprised by Mack's letters; they were thoughtful, descriptive, and funny.
I understand the value of writing. It has tremendous healing power. Whether I'm writing in my journal, writing a letter, writing a blog post, or spending some time verse mapping, writing has has proven to be soothing and restorative.
- Writing allows me to sort out and make sense of troubling experiences. It gives me a place to express myself freely, without fear of reprisal or contention.
- When I'm uncertain about a difficult decision I've found writing an excellent way of outlining my pros and cons. When I see in black and white how one outweighs the other, my options become clearer and my decision easier to make.
- Thoughts are directly linked to feelings and ultimately behavior. Expressing my thoughts on paper allows me to see how those thoughts yield emotional responses. Why I feel a certain way based on a certain thought becomes very clear and then manageable.
- Writing helps organize me. That's why I am so dependent on lists. Yes, I'm the person who adds an item to a list after it has been completed just so I can cross it off!
- I have kept a journal of sorts since I was ten years old. Looking back at my writing I can see how I have changed and grown. I have watched my handwriting change, my style, my intent. What a wonderful way to see my metamorphosis!
- At times I have had to have difficult conversations. In those instances I write down my talking points and refer to them while speaking thus keeping my mind focused in an emotionally charged situation. It sounds crazy, but it works.
- I read somewhere (and I wish I remember where) that writing can be viewed as a source of meditation; when I write my breathing slows and my mind clears.
- I have turned to writing in moments of anger and frustration. Writing my rage was a way of
photo credit: Sebastien Wiertz on Flickr
- Writing gives me a purpose, a forum for sharing my experience and dreams.
- Writing using "I" statements has become one of the most powerful exercises I have done. By phrasing statements using "I" instead of "we," "you," or "our" personalizes my writing. I then own the experience, thought, feeling, and behavior. If I own it, I can change it.
I'm happy to see SLPs embracing writing as part of their intervention with students. For years I recall some controversy about whether writing was within our purview. I am convinced that helping our students express themselves in writing as well as verbally will provide them with a powerful tool, not just for school, but for their emotional well-being.