OUR YOUNG PEOPLE are writing with greater enthusiasm and frequency than ever before, largely because of the prevalence of text messaging in the youth culture of today. Yet the abysmal literary quality of these communications has often been remarked. Dr. Boli is of the opinion that this deficiency is to be attributed to the lack of good models, such as were readily available when he was a young man in the form of “standard letter-writers,” collections of letters for every common circumstance. In this occasional series, Dr. Boli will attempt to fill that gap by providing useful examples to show how the art of text messaging might be raised to a higher standard.

A Young Gentleman at School, Thanking His Mother for a Packaged Luncheon.

Beltzhoover Elementary, January 24, 20—.

My dearest mother,

Though I needed no token to recall you to memory, and indeed it would be impossible that any material demonstration of your affection could cause me to hold you in more sincere esteem than I do already, yet the excellent luncheon of which I have even now only just completed the consumption, and which was as delightful to the gustatory and olfactory senses as it was nourishing, has occasioned me to dwell with even greater earnestness on all your past favors, and to marvel once again at your ceaseless attention to my comfort and happiness. I may tell you in confidence that the luncheons you provide me, which by their very appearance testify to the many minutes of loving care you have lavished on their preparation, have aroused no little envy among the other students in (Mr./Ms./Miss/Mrs.) (name of teacher)’s kindergarten class; but I am happy to say that the good nature of the children, and the patient but firm leadership of their teacher, have prevailed, and that their envy has expressed itself rather in friendly congratulations to me than in any of those unbecoming species of behavior that so marred my otherwise enjoyable experience of nursery school last year. I am sure I need not tell you how grateful I feel for this fresh mark of your maternal devotion, as I trust you will give me credit for those filial feelings which are appropriate to a boy who has received such a singular demonstration of his beloved parent’s affection.

As for myself, and what has happened to me since I departed from you at the bus stop this morning, I have little to report. I continue to enjoy excellent health, and nothing has occurred to cast a cloud over my general happiness, so that I am confident of meeting you this afternoon in a state of good cheer appropriate to one who has received far more than he can ever hope to repay from his beloved mother. With my best duty to my father, believe me,

My dear mother,
your ever dutiful and obliged son,