Maybe you’re a grandparent whose grandchildren live far away. Maybe you have a son or daughter away in the military. Or maybe you have close friends who have moved far away and you don’t want to lose touch with them. It’s a challenge to keep relationships fresh when the ones you care about are far away. But it’s not impossible and in today’s world of technology, there are fabulous ways to stay in touch visually as well as with the written word. Let’s explore some of the ways.
Sending an e-mail is simple. It takes just a few minutes to tell what happened in your day and just a few minutes to ask all about your loved one’s day. Regular e-mails keep a relationship fresh. While paper and pencil letters are wonderful to receive, today’s man or woman will find it easier to type off a few sentences via the internet. Sending e-mails while traveling is also easy to do, even in remote places. Internet cafes make it possible and inexpensive too.
Keeping in touch via social media sites such as Facebook is probably the most satisfying way to keep in touch with friends. It’s easy to post pictures and the chat and message features make it easy to keep your conversations private if desired. Just a few minutes a day on a social media site allows you to send messages, wish happy birthdays, share new happenings in your life and read all about others’ lives as well.
Nothing brings a friend or family member close to your heart like hearing their voice. The problem with phone calls is that with our busy schedules we’re likely to go back and forth playing “phone tag” and frustrate ourselves in the process. No one feels special when they’re put on hold or listen to recorded messages over and over again. The solution? Schedule your calls. Plan a time that works for everyone and you’ll be ready to share the latest happenings. Those with smart phones can schedule “face time,” which is just like a Skype call on your computer monitor, but smaller. Skype calls have revolutionized keeping in touch with live pictures and speech.
Letters, notes, packages
Children and adults alike take great joy in opening a piece of mail or a package prepared just for them. If we love others, we can show it by the way we take time to send our thoughts or a special gift chosen just for them. Postage can be an expense, but if the items are kept small, it’s not enough to break the budget. And letters contain the personal touch that anything electronic cannot match. Take the time and effort to send letters, cards, notes, drawings and other mementos often.
Creative and Artistic
When communicating with children it’s fun to be creative or encourage creativity in them. Today we have scanners on our printers with which we can copy art work. Do you want a piece of refrigerator art from your grandchild? Just ask them to scan and send. Are you a storyteller in the making? Place your grandchild in the role of hero or heroine in an on-going story you share with him or her. Make videos of your experiences to send. Encourage your grandchildren to learn to make simple videos of their play or their action figures and share them with you. Programs such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker are great for such a project. Or select your favorite photos and make them into a booklet to be “read” to your grandchildren at bedtime.
Make some commitments to your special relationships. Put birthdays, anniversaries and other special days on your calendar so you won’t forget them. Schedule regular calls or face times in advance so both you and your loved ones are ready for special time together. Keep your address and phone lists up to date. Do family activities even when not together. For instance you can make Grandma Anderson’s special chili or Aunt Maude’s tapioca pudding to share with the family and keep that special recipe in the family. Keep your eyes open for inexpensive airfares so you can get together in person as often as possible.
It takes extra effort to stay current with those who live far away. It’s not easy, but it’s possible and so important to those you love.