Three ways letter writing benefits you and the child you sponsor
Okay, so I need to confess… I’m not as good as I should be at writing letters to my sponsored child. And I make all sorts of reasonable excuses for it such as my life is already so busy with my work and kids that it’s hard to find the time. I feel like I just wrote a letter recently—It was 10 months ago. I need to wait until I have more to say. My letters don’t really matter anyway.
I don’t know if you can relate to any of these. If you can, you’re definitely not alone. And you’re not a bad sponsor. Even if you never wrote a single letter to your sponsored child, you have remained committed to their support while they worked with their church leaders and staff at their Compassion centre to grasp the vision that God has for their future. You are making a profound difference in your sponsored child’s life.
That said, writing letters have amazing benefits, not only for your sponsored child but for you! And, yes, I am writing this blog to remind myself of that as I hope to encourage anyone else who struggles with writing.
So, let’s take a look at three benefits of writing letters to your sponsored child
1. It deepens empathy
Without writing letters to your sponsored child, it’s hard to know what is going on in his or her life beyond the basics. You’ll receive regular updates on how they are progressing, but you may not feel involved. Through exchanging letters, you can ask questions and share about yourself. That may make your sponsored child more comfortable sharing the details of their life and their struggle with poverty. When you learn more about your sponsored child’s story, your opportunity to deepen your empathy for your sponsored child expands
How that benefits the child
There are so many ways deepened empathy can benefit your sponsored child.
- It will make you more of an active participant in his or her life. Empathy naturally lends itself to engagement, so you’ll feel compelled to reach out more to your sponsored child.
- As you reach out, you’ll be more engaged in listening, supporting and guiding. All of those things are important to a child whose life experience and circumstances tell him or her that he or she has zero chance of amounting to anything.
- Your sponsored child will begin to see things from a broader perspective. Their empathy for you will open them up to new horizons and challenge them to think more critically about the world, their place in it, and how they can work to make it different—starting with their own families, communities and countries.
How that benefits you
Empathising with someone else’s experience and perspective is a great regular practice.
- It challenges your notions of how the world works, and it forces you out of your comfort zone. Growth only happens when there’s discomfort, so empathy forces us to grow.
- You’ll also learn much more about yourself. You’ll analyse your life and perspectives and gain a greater appreciation for the things you have, the place where you live, the life you live and how you’re able to bless someone else.
- You won’t have to wonder if you’re really making a difference. Having greater empathy means you know what’s at stake and you’ll see more clearly what living in poverty is like for a child. And after knowing that better, you can be proud of the choice you made to change a child’s future.
Letter writing makes you more an active participant in your sponsored child's life.
2. It grows a greater understanding
Through exchanging letters, you’ll learn more about how Tearfund’s partner, Compassion, works, what your sponsored child’s time at Compassion is like, how the lessons and support are helping, and what else could be done (i.e., where else you can lend your support) to make things better.
Your child will also have a better understanding of why they should listen to his or her pastor, teachers and tutors and fully engage with all the Compassion programme offers them.
How that benefits the child
- Your child will begin to see that the Compassion programme is about way more than just providing them supplemental food while sharing some Bible verses with them. They will know you are investing in their future. They will know that you believe in them, and they will want to work to live up to their full potential.
How that benefits you:
- When you practice empathy and curiosity in your letter exchanges, you’ll gain a better understanding of the system, how Compassion works in your child’s country, what your sponsored child’s day-to-day life is like, and why anti-poverty work is so much more complex than simply giving people more money and stuff.
- Ultimately, you’ll see why deciding to sponsor was such an impactful decision.
Sponsored children will know you believe in them through letter writing.
3. It inspires people everywhere
It might be hard to imagine, but in many places where Compassion serves, people aren’t used to getting letters at all, let alone from people living in foreign countries. So, when a child receives a letter from their sponsor, it’s not uncommon for the whole village or community to know about it and want to know what it says.
How that benefits the child:
- It boosts your sponsored child’s self-esteem to share his or her letters with his or her family, friends and community because he or she gets to feel special. It’s not about showing off, because communities often celebrate letters together, but it reinforces what your sponsored child hears from his or her pastor and staff at the Compassion centre—that he or she has value and a purpose.
How that benefits you
- You can feel great in knowing that not only are you making a life-changing difference through your influence on one child’s life, but you’re also touching his or her family, you’re reaching his or her community and you’re sharing hope with more people than you could ever know. That will make you feel both humbled and honoured!
Writing letters to your sponsored child can be a hard thing to prioritise. But hopefully, you see at least three reasons why it might be something you’d want to do. (Yes, I’m talking to myself again here, too).
The simple fact is that through developing a real relationship with your sponsored child through exchanging letters, you should experience the joy of actively changing someone else’s life for the better in a more full and more fulfilling way.