Show ‘n Tell

As children Americans learn at an early age to be on – or to be put onto – center stage. As early as Kindergarten, in Show and Tell, they are asked to bring something personal into school: a toy, a stuffed animal, one of their favorite books. They stand before their peers and present.

They practice not only speaking in front of a group – the first experience with public speaking – they learn how to speak about themselves and their feelings. And when they do, they seek from the other children attention, positive feedback, ultimately approval. They are in presentation mode.

It is the same with letter-writing. American children are taught not only to feel free to begin sentences with I. They are encouraged to write in the active, not passive, form. They should write from their individual, personal perspective. Letters are per definition a personal and consciously subjective form of communication.