Connecting with Texting
Recently I felt impressed to send each of my grandchildren a brief text. As I created these texts, I attempted to personalize each one—tailoring the targeted message to each grandchild’s needs, interests, or recent achievements.
What follows are some of the individual texts, responses from grandchildren, and brief related commentary. Consider what you might text to a grandchild today. What would you want to suggest, praise, or affirm? How could you make the message fun and kid- or youth-centered?
Here is a text I sent to Davidson. His dad had just sent me a video of him shooting a jump shot in a basketball game. This text's primary focus was to encourage his continued growth and affirm the importance of effort and practice. As you can see, he responded very positively to his brief messages.
Jane, our granddaughter, is becoming a very skilled and talented lacrosse player. Yesterday, I attended one of her games. I was amazed at how much she had changed since the fall. This text reflects my fascination with her notable changes: physically, emotionally, and socially.
Around Valentine’s Day, I sent Tanette, our granddaughter, an expression of my love for her. She graduated from high school several years ago and works as a dental assistant. I loved the text I received from her.
The following text features Matt. He constantly makes me laugh. He is very clever with words. This text was essentially a query and a recommendation. I just wanted to know what his Valentine's Day had been like and how he was doing. As you will see, I also suggested some specific behaviors for him—not because he is socially unskilled—I just wanted him to reach out to others on this sometimes-challenging day.
Livie is one of my more spirited grandchildren. Yes, I think this description is fitting. She is bright, confident, and unabashedly frank. Because of the COVID pandemic and other factors, I had not spent much time with her. As you can see, she responded with a heart emoji, letting me know that despite queries about potential groundings, she still likes and even loves me.
As I indicated earlier, some texts are devoted to congratulating grandchildren on their recent achievements. Maggie, who graduated from high school a little more than two years ago, recently completed licensure exams as a hairstylist. We were thrilled with this accomplishment and celebrated it with dinner at a "way good" Italian restaurant. It was so much fun for her and for us.
Grandchildren benefit significantly from affirmation texts that identify worthwhile dispositions and achievements. Gabe, the recipient of this email, is becoming a dedicated and hard-working student. I just wanted him to know how much I appreciated his positive, emerging attributes. Also, I encouraged him to be friendly.
This last example of texting is tender and sweet in many ways. I need not say much, if anything, about it. As you review it, you will see how valuable it was.
You do not need to be too analytical--the simplest of messages will be well received. For example, you might text a grandson something like this. "Nick, I just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you today. Hope you are doing well."
Remember, it is all about connecting with texting!