Monday, November 21, 2011
30 Thankful Days - Day 21
Thankful Thing #19:
Husband passed his test! He is now a licensed Journeyman Electrician! It is so exciting to see him feeling a sense of accomplishment and being proud of himself - as he should be!
He called a few hours after I wrote my post Friday to tell me the news, and even though Student Council and I were hustling and bustling around on a big project (see Thing #20), I stopped to answer the phone and was so excited and proud of him I nearly cried.
While this license means a few more dollars an hour, it more importantly represents Husband's hard work, perseverance, and growth over the last few years. I'm so proud to be the wife of a Journeyman. :)
Thankful Thing #20:
A Student Council who Cares.
For the last month or so, Student Council has been working their behinds off planning the annual food drive we do the two weeks before Thanksgiving Break in conjunction with a city-wide food drive.
We've participated in Harvest of Love for as long as I have been at our school, and some years have been more successful than others. A few years ago we had a Council that was determined to do it right, and because of their creativity and fresh ideas, we went from raising 8,000 lbs of food the previous year to 80,000. It was amazing. Since then, we've usually pulled in 30 - 40,000 lbs of food each year. The economy has been hard. Those Councils weren't as passionate. We didn't come up with new ideas. Whatever the reason, we hadn't been able to hit that 80,000 lbs again.
Until this year.
I'm pretty passionate about this topic. I'm wealthy, by all standards, but Husband and I sometimes eat cereal for dinner for a week to save money. I haven't had to make the choices many families make - we've always paid our mortgage, our utilities, had food. But many families have to choose. And many, many kids in our city go without food often. And that should never happen.
So I talked to my Executive Council (the five kids who pretty much run the Council). We did this amazing activity together (http://playspent.org) to catch a glimpse of what the choices people face are. We brainstormed. And they agreed they that cared. That they wanted to do this right.
So they talked to Student Council. We all did the activity. We talked for a long time about WHY we would want to do this right. We had a speaker from the food bank. They understood that if they weren't passionate about it, then the rest of our school wouldn't be, either. That if we are more excited and put more thought and preparation into Homecoming than into this, then we have our priorities seriously mixed up.
And we planned. We made videos, like this one.
We went to each homeroom and we did the playspent activity with them. We taught our students about why we were doing this. We had a neon dance, a dodgeball tournament, a Senior Sibling Day, boys vs girls competitions, themed spirit days with matching dress up and food items, and more.
And we raised about 80,000 lbs of food again. Our goal was 70,000. We didn't think we could double our normal, but we were wrong. Because we cared, others cared. Several of my students went above and beyond and did things on their own. We saw and felt generosity that surpassed previous years. One autistic boy went door to door in his neighborhood and got his neighbors to give him their change. He collected $150.
80,000 lbs of food. According to the way the food bank can run things, that means that our school contributed to providing 560,000 meals. 560,000 people can eat because of my students.
I am so proud of them. And so excited to be a part of a group of teenagers who care. I told you they did.
Thankful Thing #21:
And, with the people we fed in Thankful Thing #20 on my mind and heart, I am thankful for food.
Yes, sometimes we eat cereal for lunch and dinner for a few days. But we have a pantry full of food. We waste food sometimes. We get take-out at least once a week. We're rich with food.
I remember talking to my friend Brooke a while back about the idea that so often, we eat as if we're never going to eat again. We stuff ourselves to the point of feeling sick, because we paid for it, it's on our plates, or for whatever other reason. We don't enjoy, don't savor. We just eat and keep eating.
What if I were to remember that, at this point in my life, I am fortunate enough to not have to worry about my next meal? What if I were to only eat what I really need, and to savor each bite? What if I were to be thankful, instead of wasteful?
Just thinking "out loud."
I know I'm blessed. I have lots of choices when it comes to what I eat. I don't have to pick from whatever canned veggies people felt like donating. On Thursday, I'll be eating all my Thanksgiving favorites, instead of scraping together a dinner with what I can find.
I don't feel guilty.
But I do feel thankful. And I want to try to remember that each and every time I eat something.