I have had three pen pals during my education from elementary school to college. My first pen pal, whom I had when I was in third grade, was a retired teacher that lived in a nursing home. I enjoyed writing to her and learning about her experience of going to school in a one room school house. I wish I continued to correspond to her, because think about her and I wonder how she is doing.
My 2nd pen pal I had when I was in 6th grade. This pen pal, was a 2nd or 3rd grader from England. I really enjoyed learning about his life and his country. In fact, when I was in college I had a strong desire to visit England and I ended up studying abroad there. I wanted to reach out to him and let him know I would be in town, because it would have been nice to meet him in person after all the time that had passed.
My third pen pal I had when I was a senior in college, she in her early twenties and from China. This pen pal was part of my intercultural communication course where we were to email weekly and learn about each others cultures. When school ended, I tried to continue to email her, but she stopped responding to my emails.
I have always enjoyed spending one on one time with people. I feel one on one time creates a space for people to open up in ways that may be hindered in group setting. If we take the time to get to know each other, we may be surprised by our shared humanness.
Today’s wisdom I found on Upworthy. It is a documentary titled “The World is as Big of as Small as You Make It.” The documentary follows teens that participate in a program called Do Remember Me. The program takes pen pals and email pen pals to the next level with the video pen pal. I was drawn to be a filmmaker to tell stories that create understanding. This video touched my heart and is a great example of how understanding can come when we take the time to listen to each other and get to know each other as friends versus enemies.