Friday, August 12, 2011

Postcards from London

The Boyds at the Tower of London

My family enjoys travel. We work together on mission trips every other summer, helping people in places like Thailand, Fiji, Malaysia, or Japan improve their English conversation skills.  We work with a group called Let's Start Talking, using the Bible as our text and sharing our faith in Christ with our new foreign friends.  

Kinley with three new friends in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2010

These 6-week-long missions have enabled us to rack up the frequent flyer miles.  Kinley alone has 80,000 miles at her disposal right now. That's enough to take her to Egypt.  Or Timbuktu.  Or Disney, 3 times.

Whether we're going on a mission, following Josh as he represents Purdue, or traveling just for fun, I always send all of my students a postcard from wherever I am during the summer.  It takes a lot of time to write that many cards since I can't seem to stop myself from giving each child details about the far-away lands that they may never visit.  Plus, I like for them to know I'm thinking about them during the summer, and all kids love to get real mail. 

Many of them come in on the first day of school proudly reporting that my card arrived "all the way from" wherever I've been that year.  I beam at them, happy that my investment in time and postage (which costs as much as $2 per postcard in some countries) has given them joy.

But this year, I intentionally left out one student.

We spent the summer of 2011 in London since this was our off-year for mission work.  On a visit to Trafalgar Square, I stopped in a touristy shop to buy cheap postcards to send.  I picked one that had lots of different scenes of famous places in London and bought 22 of them.  Back in our tiny flat, I plopped onto the bed to begin writing.  I started with the child whose name comes first on my alphabetical class list.  I always assign my students class numbers and memorize my class list this way.  Justin Asbill is number 1; Jacob Baber is number 2; Kinley Boyd is number 3; etc.

After I'd finished the first two postcards, I was having trouble remembering which child was number four.  Kinley said, "What about number 3?  Didn't you write that postcard?"

I stared at her.  "Um, no.  I only bought 22 postcards."

"You're not sending me a card?" she asked in disbelief.

"Well….no.  I mean, you're HERE…with me."

She gaped at me a moment, told me the name of student number four, and went back to what she had been doing.

I have to admit that I did feel a little bit guilty.  Here was yet another way that my child was getting the shaft because her mother is her teacher.  Of course, in this case, Kinley got to actually VISIT the places on the card, but I'm sure that most people assumed she might get PREFERENTIAL treatment from me as a teacher.  The truth is, usually the opposite is true.  She often gets the short end of the stick.

But I still didn't write her.  And I think she'll get over it.


Anonymous said...

#7 loved her card-and is anxious to have you guys over for dinner. Are you available Sunday evening?

Sue said...

Logically, you made the right decision at that moment but could have said that she will receive a card when you are separated. What you probably could have done was to send her one from home when she was already in London with Josh! Or you could have sent one to reach her while at camp. Try to find some other opportunity to send her a card to even things out. BTW - I know exactly the 'gape' she gave says what words cannot. ;o)

boyd2 said...

You're so right, Sue. I sent a card to her and Josh from the US (but it arrived in London after I did), and I also sent her a letter at camp. The camp letter arrived in a clear postal service baggie with the letter part missing. There was a polite aopolgy from the USPS enclosed, but Kinley was really disappointed and cried. The best laid plans....