I have always been a proponent of writing letters. I write letters to my sisters accompanied by scribbled-on sticky notes and stickers that I think that they would enjoy. I write letters to my friends filled with inside jokes and disbelief on the times we have spent together. I write letters to my grandparents reminiscing on memories and writing thank-yous and see you soons. However, I’ve recently taken on the project to write letters to the people that I respect.
A quick google search tells you that among other definitions, respect is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements,” whether that be an award that someone received for a project they completed, the kindness that they show people, or the way that they can play piano and make it sound like magic. Respect is a value that is multi-variable and different for every person, but there is no doubt that it is an important part of all of our lives, especially right now. We all know that it has been a very tumultuous couple of months for students and citizens across Michigan, but it has given me the time to reflect on the people that I respect and what it is that I respect them for. In times such as this it is increasingly important to communicate with the people that surround you and remind everyone that people care. I encourage you to reflect on all of the people that you respect, and then, I would encourage you to write them a letter.
Write a letter to the teacher you had in second grade who didn’t give up on you even when you stumbled through your reading.
Write a letter to a friend that you might not always talk to but have always admired for their dedication to what they are passionate about.
Write a letter to the sibling who has served as a role model for you but that you’ve never told.
Write a letter to the school administrator who sends you constant emails that you don’t always appreciate but value immensely for the knowledge that keeps you involved and cognizant during these chaotic times.
Write a letter to the teacher who spent two hours with you on a zoom call so that you could still understand your math homework even when learning online.
Write a letter to the coach who encouraged you to stay active and involved even though your season wasn’t what you expected.
Write a letter to the counselor who helped fix your schedule junior year after realizing that AP World History was not the class for you..
Write a letter to the club adviser who spent weekend after weekend helping you prepare for a conference.
Regardless of the reason why you write someone a letter, letting someone know that you care for and respect them is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Plus, if you don’t want to write a letter, even a quick text or email can be enough to let someone know that you appreciate them. Our capacity to communicate is one of the most amazing abilities that we have, even when we are unable to talk in person. So I encourage you all to communicate with those around you. And who knows? Maybe someone will send you a letter back.