Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve: Learning about AnyHero letters...from kids!

We've been receiving a wonderful flood of AnyHero letters lately...and we wanted to say a special thank you to the young people who have been participating! You've taught us soooo much about how to write a letter....so let's share some of that with the grownups.

Adults often have a hard time expressing gratitude to our nation's heroes...we hem, we haw, we grab a card and just write "Thanks" below the preprinted sentiment and sign it. We worry that we're not doing it "right" and we don't have a clue what to say, so we can get paralyzed and say almost nothing. Just check out what the kids do, and see what we can learn from them!

**Note: Kleenex warning, these are sweet!**

Write about daily life...
We get a lot of questions asking what to write in an AnyHero card. The best thing? Our humdrum lives! Our heroes love to receive a taste of home...feel free to share the flavor of your life like these teens did.

Young people know how to just get chatty about life — they might be random thoughts from time to time, but you can't read these letters without smiling. Some choice excerpts:
"Dear American hero....I play football, baseball, and basketball, I have a sister named C., and two brothers named M. and B. My sister ran over my basketball goal. It means a lot to me and when I grow up I plan to join the military!" —S

"My name is A. and I'm in 10th grade. I just wanted to let you know that you're such an inspiration...I know I couldn't do what you do cause you're crazy brave. I'll keep praying for you even though I don't know your name."  —A.

"I like cats. I have a black one named Toby. He's a kitten and he meows really loud. A few weeks ago, I backed into my brother's basketball goal (I got my license 2 months ago.) Hope I made you laugh, and I hope you have a great day!" —C (yes, S's sister! LOL!)
"Want to know something funny? This morning when I woke up my cat's tail was puffed up. <> I'm glad there's people like you over there. People like you helping defend us. I don't think I could do it. I'd be too scared. Thanks to people like you  - heroes like you, we can remain a free country." —N.

"What you do just makes me proud.
Saving our country, not following the crowd.
Thank you, hero, for what you do,
Our country's in the need for heroes like you.
Fighting in the war's not scaring ya,
Doing what you can for America." —S.
See how simply they write? They just talk about whatever is going on at the moment! A deployed warrior loves to hear just a little of what life's like at home - to remind them what they're fighting for. 


Check out Dixie's blog to see more pictures from the cardsigning with these high schoolers!

Find common ground...
Something I recently heard was a response from a warrior when asked the following question: "What can the average American do to help a soldier?" The answer: "Get to know one." Indeed! What better way than in a letter? Look for some common ground you might have with the recipient of your letter — like these second graders did.
 

The kids asked questions, talked about holidays, and found ways to "connect" with the person who will read their letters. They looked for the common experiences they knew everyone has had....and we can all do the same. Some excerpts from theirs (spellings are by the kids, aren't they precious!):
"Dear Hero, Thank you for fighting for our country.   I hope you stay safe. Do you get to call your famaleys a lote? Do you get to go home on holladays or do you have to stay and fight?"
"Dear Hero, thank you for keeping are country a better place. It will be halloween in three more days if you donte get this litter it will be in 2 days or 2 day. What do you do on halloween?"
"Dear hero, Thank you for saving hour country. Do you want to now what im gana be for halloween? A army person just like you. Allso my Dad put on fase pante on me and do you have to put on fase pante to?"
"Dear hero, Thank you for helping pepal. What is your job? My job is going to scool. Do you know any leprcons? Ive nver seen one."
How great are children at asking questions! Our heroes love these kinds of letters!

Don't be afraid to "go long"....
A card with just a signature doesn't engage a hero very long....so let them sit with your note for a few minutes.....some folks write several pages, but even several paragraphs goes a long way to share a taste of home with a hero far away.

Some short excerpts from these long letters....
"Thank you for everything you have done. I know how hard it is to be a soldier. My name is J. P. I'm 11 years old. I like to play soccer. One time I made my first goal. I was the first girl on my team to make a goal. My favorite book author is Anthony Horowitz, I'm reading Stormbreaker and it has 234 pages!"
"I just want to thank you for all you have done for us. I am a sixth grader and my favorite game is call of duty modern warfare. If you're wondering I am 11. I want to know more about you, do you like sports? Do you like call of duty? What's your favorite team? Please write back to me." (School address listed)
"Your My Hero! Thanks for everything you do!! Like is it hard to drive a tank? It must be cool handaling powerfull guns and stuff like that. It's nice in California, the weather is a little cold. I just want you to know I really appieciate all of your hard work. I'm a girl, kinda mature for my age. You know what would be cool if you knew my mom, her name is E. B. But since she got married her name is E.L."

Share your heart...
The basic thing to remember is sharing your heart. Tell them what you're grateful for - in your own words. Don't worry about being flowery and poetic...take a cue from these kids.


"You made my state safe. You made me safe. I am sorry you miss your family. But You are a hero because you made my state Calafornia safe. You made my day. You are a good soldier."
"My class is learning about kindness. I think you aer a hero because you protect us and keep us safe. Thank you for protecting us. I hope you come home soon."
"Thank you for kepeing us safe so we can go sum where safe every day. You are our hero."
Make a hero's day!
So in your next letter, give them a play-by-play of the football game you're watching. Describe the squeals of the kids playing Parcheesi in the next room. Tell them about your favorite family tradition, share a wacky bit of trivia, your favorite joke you heard at the office....or the outcome of your own driving lessons. :)

5 comments:

Scrapin Kat said...

thanks for the inspiration, I will be sending this on to my card helpers..

Scrapping Mom said...

These letters are so wonderful. The troops will love them.
I can't wait to get more letters written to send .

Dixie said...

Thanks, Sandy! I love reading Hero letters from kids. I've reposted this link to my facebook wall. Hope our high schoolers read it too. I need to make sure the mother of the brother-sister duo sees it too!

Rhonda Miller said...

Thank you for sharing those. I'm one of those who just sits there wondering what to write. Great inspiration.

Kajikit said...

Those kid letters are just wonderful! (huggles)