Mothers of Intention are “political” in a lot of ways, many of which don’t even involve what we normally think of as politics. I was blown away when I read this post by Kelly of Mocha Momma fame (she’s a dedicated high school principal in her “real” life) about how big issues manifest themselves in small ways. And how we can make a big difference sometimes with what seem like little things to us. Thank you, Kelly, for letting me cross-post your call for action here at PunditMom. I hope this will help round up some more purses for your students!
There’s a church in my neighborhood that I pass nearly every day when I walk my dog. It’s a pretty church with long, thick white columns. The congregants seem nice enough, too, as they don’t speed out of the parking lot in my quiet neighborhood on Sundays or when the Boy Scouts are having their meetings. All in all, I like this church. This building. There is a sign out front that poses a question to all passersby:
This sign has bothered me ever since I’ve read it. But this isn’t a post about the passive-aggressive message contained within. In fact, I could very well answer the question with the fact that I’ve used my powers for good once before and was overwhelmed with the compassion of friends and regular readers of this blog. (For those who don’t know the story, I offered to donate a dollar for each comment I got on a post about three students who wouldn’t have had a Christmas and readers responded with generous hearts and selfless motives until we reached over $1,000 for which to buy gifts for them. The story still chokes me up when I think about it and it’s all I can do not to blame it on hormones.)
Are you ready for a strange segue? Here goes…
SO! My school has been in the news a lot lately and it’s nothing short of fifty shades of SUCK. It’s no secret that the media beat us up and I already work at the district step-child high school. It’s also no secret (to readers of Mocha Momma) that I adore my co-workers and students and go into work every day to the hardest, most unappreciated job in the world. Some days call for me to take the hit that I don’t deserve. Other days I am challenged by those I work with one second only to be in a position to defend them passionately in the next. Right now I refuse to even link to those stories and I never read the online comments to newspaper stories because then I feel the need to apologize on behalf of all educators who have left those people behind. WE’RE SORRY YOU DON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “YOUR” AND “YOU’RE” OR “PRINCIPAL” AND “PRINCIPLE.”
That’s about as much as I can say about work-related stuff without getting into trouble. I have a deficiency in the area of shutting-the-heck-up-when-I-should. There’s not a pill or anything that works to make that better.
As I walk into work each day the poverty of my schools’ students is never lost on me. Yet, I watch some of these students who come from more than difficult home lives continually come to school where they want to learn. Even more impressive is that they come to school and help with blood drives, canned food collections, and other community service events even when they themselves are in need. It is not lost on me that they are themselves inspiring to the adults who gladly work with them. In a million years I didn’t expect to have a career that I loved this much. The things I get to witness and the growing I get to watch astounds me.
Recently, because of a response to the media trashing us, we are hitting hard on some things in our school. Students have never been allowed to carry backpacks, but the issue that keeps coming up are the girls’ purses. Hey, I’m as fashion forward as the next gal so I know that big purses are here to stay. When my male students complain that girls get to even carry purses I remind them, gently, that as soon as they have to carry around tampons and Midol this won’t be an issue.
Some of the biggest complainers have come to see me in my office or caught me in the hallway or a classroom:
Why can’t we carry big purses? I saved up $50 to buy this and it’s the only one I have! I can’t buy another one.
This is stupid! I’m a good girl. Why are we always getting punished?
Who even SELLS small purses? Everything in the stores is big.
These girls are right. They’re also pretty whiny when they come talk to me so I decided to take something ugly and turn it in to something pretty. I asked seven girls to help me coordinate a Purse Drive for school and I’m using my blog to spread the word.
Do you have an old, small purse you’d be willing to donate?
Can you purchase a small purse that we can use for our Purse Drive?
My intention is to take all donations and sell them for the set price of $5 for any girl who wants to come to the Purse Shop I’m setting up in school and then give the money to the school. My seven girls will help me set it up, arrange the purses for display, collect the money, and do a really good thing. A small thing, but a good thing nonetheless.
Here’s what I was wondering: can you help? Maybe a widget! A button for your blog! But most importantly, you get that really good feeling of doing some good in the world and showing compassion to a bunch of teenage girls you don’t even know.
UPDATE on November 8, 2009: Yes, the purse drive is still going strong. Perhaps I should have mentioned that there are nearly 700 girls in my school and we’d love to see this as a sustainable project. We are grateful for any and all donations.
Here is the widget:
And here is the info on where to send a spare purse if you have one:
P.O. Box 9465
Springfield, IL 62791
Purses should be no larger than 8.5 x 11 so measuring with a piece of paper should be easy to use for measurement.
I hope you’ll take a minute and check out your closets, like I did, to see if you can help out Kelly’s students. I have a stash of five that are headed Kelly’s way. Think about how excited these students will be and how good you’ll feel for making a little difference to a student for whom this is a big thing!