I didn’t think it was a big deal.
In fact, in my view, it was a no brainer.
My kid’s handwriting is illegible.
Now that schools basically move kids from block print to the keyboard, very few students ever really master cursive. In fact, cursive penmanship is considered a “font option” in our district rather than an important life skill that children should be required to master.
No matter how you slice it, Tech’s handwriting sucks.
But he is a whiz on the computer, so he found a program which allowed him to create his own handwriting font, and he used it to type his bar mitzvah thank you notes.
I said he typed his thank you notes.
I figured he would be able to write more personal notes on the computer as opposed to the standard:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. So and So:
Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift and for sharing the day with me.
Insert illegible signature here.
I have to be honest, I was actually thrilled by the level of personalization Tech employed into his thank you notes. In many cases, he thanked people for little things like smiling at him while he was on the bimah, or dancing with him Saturday night at the party. He thanked people for the baked goods they provided for his Kiddush lunch at the temple, and he thanked other people for coming to our home on Sunday for brunch. He thanked out-of-towners for making the trip to be with him on his special day and he thanked people for funny cards.
But he would never have done all that personalization if I had him write every note out by hand.
I had to get Tech to write those notes while he was still feeling the magical vibe of post-bar mitzvah bliss as he was leaving for overnight camp on July 1st, just 8 days after his bar mitzvah. He was so wound up after
eating so much sugar all weekend all the compliments he received, he didn’t even complain when I told him on Monday morning he’d need to write twenty notes notes each day in order to complete all his thank you’s before he went to camp.
The boy composed all his notes without any complaints.
He also addressed the envelopes (by hand) and affixed the stamps.
Still, I got the criticism and the hairy eyebrow.
“I can’t believe you let him type his thank you notes.”
I feel slightly guilty as I tap out this sentence, but it’s true: nearly every thank you note we receive ends up in the recycling bin 2.3 seconds after we read it. I save very few these days and only the ones that feel personalized in some way. Given that most thank you notes written after large events are extremely impersonal, what does it matter if the note is typed or hand-written? Aren’t the words the most important thing? Aren’t thank you notes all about expressing gratitude? Would you rather receive a dull, illegible note by hand or a personalized, typed one? Does it even matter?
I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts on this? In 2012, is it acceptable to type thank you notes? Or would you prefer a handwritten one? And if you want a handwritten one, can you explain why?