Wait a minute, Mr. Postman
A lot has been written about the post office lately. Over the past few weeks, I have been pondering the benefits of the Postal Service to this homeschooling family.
Letters are a way we connect with people who are far away. Sure, there are other ways to send a message, but there is something special about getting a note from a faraway friend all nestled in amongst the credit card offers and charity solicitations.
You might call all those solicitations "junk mail," but I suspect that stuff is what keeps the Postal Service in business these days. People don't send letters as much anymore with all the instant forms of communication. It is kind of sad, really. Writing letters is a great way for children to learn writing skills and also to deepen relationships with people who are far away.
One day last week, I stumbled upon a box of cards and letters I had saved over the years. The oldest one was from my sister, sent to me when she was about 6 and I was away at summer camp. "I know the hokey pokey," she informed me. "Do you?" She included a picture she had drawn as well.
No matter where I went, in those days before the Internet, the postman found me and delivered letters from my sister. She wrote a stack of them while I was away at college and more still when I was finished and she was in college. They are part of my treasure chest now.
A friend I went to high school with moved to Germany shortly after she got married. Alone in a foreign country, she wrote long letters filled with everything from tales of her travels to descriptions of the neighbors to her efforts at learning the language. I looked forward to those letters and read them over and over again. These days, we communicate via BlackBerry Messenger. It isn't the same.
I couldn't depend on my phone when I wanted to send her a box of walnuts from our tree, though. Email wasn't much good for that, either.
Lots of folks still rely on the Postal Service to deliver a variety of packages. We get baby chicks, ducklings, goslings and turkey poults through the mail.
One thing we haven't tried to mail order is the chicken pox. It seems some folks are sending lollipops licked by children with chicken pox through the mail so their children can be exposed to the disease without having to get a shot.
Vaccinations may be suspect to some folks, but the thought of purchasing a pre-licked lollipop of any variety just gives me the creeps. Count me out on that one.
Every day I am overloaded with too much information. People message, tweet and email all sorts of things. I wonder, if they had to sit down in front of a blank sheet of paper, write out their status and take it to the mailbox, would any of that nonstop flow make the cut?
Years ago, I hit upon an idea for sharing what is going on in our lives with far away relatives and friends. We do a periodic round up of all the children's pictures, penmanship practice, art projects and Sunday school papers and stuff them into an envelope. This serves the dual purpose of clearing off the refrigerator and dealing with papers that my children deem too precious to throw away.
One day, my kids and grandchildren may look back on their own boxes of special letters and see them as relics of a time gone by. They may stop sending mail altogether.
Until then, we will keep the postman as busy as we can.
Rose Godfrey is a homeschooling mom in Meridian. Her homeschool blog can be found on the Appeal-Democrat website at appealdemocrat.com.