Where’s the pen and paper?

Where’s the pen and paper?

The other day I was chatting casually to a priest when the subject turned to issues to do with the internet.  I enquired as to how in his view and experience the internet was affecting marriage and was intrigued by his answers.  Today, couples are using social media to resolve their issues.  Emails to sort out their problems and social media to externalise them or ‘cover’ them up.  Seeking refuge in such a public space can no doubt lead to many a misunderstanding and further complications.  Not to mention the added complication of comment boards from people who are close and not so close.

The truth is that ICT has changed every aspect of our lives.  Marriage and relationships are one such aspect.  Smart phones and social media applications have made it easier to communicate. Gone are the days when our children’s budding romance had to wait for the weekend or that lone telephone call – today its full on social media.  Photos on Instagram, messages that are the subject of various comments, facebook posts and whatsapp messages.  We are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to means of communication today.  It has become so second nature that we feel almost lost without our phones or internet connection.

The speed of communications has ironically hindered traditional communications.  Only recently I wanted to thank one of our excellent consultants for the great job he did on a family member.  I sat down and wrote a letter and got the children to do the same.  I have always valued written letters and thought this small gesture will be appreciated.  Indeed it was.  I was in awe that the surgeon replied a few days later with a hand written note explaining how he hadn’t penned a letter in years.  It’s amazing how something so ‘out of date’ still resonates so well.  Who of us doesn’t enjoy receiving a hand written note especially one of gratitude or condolence?  It’s one thing putting up a post on facebook with the many others.  It’s a whole different story if you actually sit down and write it.  That is if you manage to find note paper which is incredibly hard to come by these days.

The thought that goes into a hand written note is beyond compare.  No quick fix and I’m ready, but dedicated thinking time with a specific message.  It’s also not transitory, it’s there to be read and reread, by your bedside or on your fridge.

For those of us who were brought up on pen and paper, it is hard to imagine our children will hardly ever need to pen a letter or use a pen other than for school and even this is changing.  Yet, the appeal of the hand written word is such that it will never go unnoticed.  It’s also a good training ground for our children to learn how and what to communicate.  Have a go and see the effects.   The same way we love receiving our children’s hand made cards, made with so much love and attention, the same way others enjoy receiving the same from us.  It’s often the thought that counts and in this case, it truly makes a difference.


Mikela is a graduate in International Relations from the University of Malta.  She holds a post-graduate degree in Management from the Mediterranean Institute of Management, Cyprus, a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford, UK., and a Masters in EU Politics and Administrative Studies from the College of Europe Bruges, Belgium.
Her career spans 15 years in the Diplomatic Service during which time she worked on issues related to the IAEA, United Nations, Commonwealth and Sanctions.  Other positions held were that of Private Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Speech Writer as well as Assistant Director of Defence and Head of Secretariat of the Strategic Policy Secretariat both within the Office of the Prime Minister.  Mikela had a leading role in Malta’s response to the Libya crisis and post crisis planning of Malta-Libya relations. Today Mikela is the Senior Executive for Corporate Affairs at Vodafone Malta responsible for PR, Corporate Affairs, Internal Communications, External Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Mikela née Tabone, is married to Eric and together they have five children.  Lisa is 8, Anna 7, Sarah 6 and the twins Eric and Rebecca 5. Her hobbies include diving, travelling and reading.  (When she has any time left!)

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