American Spirit, Ingenuity and Peanut Butter Sandwiches

The other night, my son dropped my granddaughter off to visit while he went back to his office to catch up on some work. He and his wife are celebrating the arrival of their second child, and that means I get to spend some quality “grandma” time with their older daughter, Grace.

Grace has been an only child for the past five years, ruling the roost rather well, keeping both parents in line. Along comes Sophie, and the spotlight has shifted. As Grace and I chatted over peanut butter sandwiches (I was mindful of cutting the crust off the bread, as instructed) and orange juice, I asked her how school was going. I already knew she was number one in her class, but took the opportunity to tell her how proud I was of her and shower her with lots of hugs and kisses.

Grace attends a magnet school that now struggles to keep up with providing students up-to-date books and other learning tools due to a budget deficit that has spiraled out of control in their city. It’s a difficult place to be for teachers, students and parents alike. It’s painful to watch your child knowing that they don’t enjoy access to the kinds of learning tools that private and charter schools have. It’s frustrating for teachers and students to carry out their goals with limited resources and budgets that have been cut bare.

The parents in Grace’s class decided to do something about it. They met, pooled their resources and purchased the books for the entire class. The parents continue to meet and discuss what other ways they can help the class and the teachers to have the best result. Word got out to other classes and some are doing the same.

This kind of American spirit and ingenuity is what we need in our public schools. Of course I am proud of Grace and her parents. But I am even more inspired by the message that they, together with the rest of Grace’s class and her teachers, are sending to all. Imagine how Grace and her fellow students feel about their parents supporting their efforts and their teachers in this way.

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