The value of the hand-written word


BY HEINO MOLLS – I am not an unusually big man, but I am six feet tall. I am overweight. I am bald. I have hands that people refer to as meat hooks. I am referred to in friendly gestures as “big guy”, as in “How are you big guy?”

Dainty is not a word that springs to mind when folks talk about me.

When I write things down, the impression my pen leaves goes through about 12 pages behind the one I am writing on. It isn’t that I am that strong, I think it’s just the weight of my hand as I push it across the paper. I cannot use a pencil because they break before I can finish writing a sentence and the pens I use, before I eventually break them, have to be those extra resilient types.
My writing is huge. I cannot dispense cute script. Even if you engaged the kindest exaggeration to describe my abilities, penmanship would not even make the bottom of the list.
The reason I am telling you all this is because I want you to know how awkward it is for me to sit down, handwrite a personal card, and then put it in the mail.
But I am doing it. It is something I have discovered that I love to do. I have come to realize the importance of a hand written card or note.
I know that there are many of REM’s readers who write out cards as a matter of course. Many people, especially in the real estate industry, have long been using this thoughtfulness as standard practice in following up meeting people, or conversations they had or just as a plain lovely gesture of kindness. So I see you all rolling your eyes as I use this column space to rail on about this new revelation I have come to.
Of course it is not new to me. But the frequency that I am doing it is and I must confess, the value of sending a personal note or a card is something I have overlooked foolishly for far too long.
We have so many mediums of communication at our finger tips today. Sending an e-mail is certainly efficient for obvious reasons. The best way to share a document is still by fax machine. And the best form of communication beyond a personal meeting is still the telephone.
Not withstanding all these very useful things, there is something about receiving a personal card, hand written by the person who sent it, that is very special. It is the most meaningful way to express your thoughts to anyone.
From the outset of taking a personal card out of the mailbox, the person receiving it will be drawn to it. Here is something among the mass mailings, the computer generated labels, or the hydro bill with someone’s name printed and positioned so it is seen perfectly through the plastic window part of the envelope.
Here is something that someone has not pushed buttons to give you. It is not an “FYI” copy of an email that appears on your screen. It is not a “fax blast” for some product. It is not telephone marketing.
This is something that someone made for you. A few days ago when you didn’t even know it, someone was thinking about you. Someone went through the trouble to write out your name. You were in someone’s memory. You made enough of an impression on someone that they wanted to do something special, just for you.
The effort of writing a personal card goes beyond the handwriting. It can’t be sent by simply pushing a button. It has to be carried to the mailbox. It has to have a stamp put on it. There is work involved here.
Sending a personal card is a wonderfully romantic gesture. It also commands respect for what it represents. Even the presidents of the most prestigious companies and organizations in the world are drawn to a hand written note or card before any other morning mail or document is reviewed.
We all know that in the world we live in today, the most valuable thing we have to give and the most precious thing we receive is simply, time. There is no better way to show someone that you are happy to give this most precious commodity. A personal card carries far more than its words.
It is a declaration of time spent in someone’s thoughts. There are more valuable things in life, for sure, but not that many.
If an awkward, bull in a china shop fellow like me, can write out a few heartfelt words on one of those dainty little cards with flowers on it, so can you. The next time you’re thinking about someone, write them out a note and tell them that you value knowing them. It would mean a great deal to them, believe me.

Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email [email protected] or send a hand-written note to 115 Thorncliffe Park Drive, Toronto, Ontario M4H 1M1.

By: Heino Molls
[email protected]


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