Friday, June 20, 2008

Ah, for the love of politics

I saw a fascinating documentary on Eleanor Roosevelt this week. Gads, that woman is an inspiration! She should be an inspiration for all girls. At one point, they read a passage from her diary that revealed she had some serious depression and insecurity issues and it was in such stark contrast to the woman she appeared to be. The woman that helped other women achieve great goals, while quietly achieving ones of her own. I firmly believe in a mandatory girls class ("Exceding the Limits 101") or after-school group for elementary aged girls that teaches them the confidence and pride they need to get by in this world. And then a class for all the students on how to treat one another ("R-E-S-P-E-C-T 101"). I would show this documentary and have them all read a biography on Mrs. Roosevelt. (We'd read Gloria Steinem, too, but only after the kids grasped the concept that there wouldn't be a Gloria without an Eleanor.)

Watching this doc, I started to get excited about the opportunities, the possibilities, of interactions I'll have starting in the Fall with my elementary kids. I'm taking a full-time teaching gig, starting in August, and one of the reasons I wanted to teach at this school so much is that they live by the "platinum rule". Different than the "Golden Rule", as it was explained to me by the Head of School, which is: Treat others as you would like to be treated. But, the "Platinum Rule" is: Treat others the way they would like to be treated.

Mrs. Roosevelt believed the world should change, particularly in the country she lived in, and she didn't just go about the way she wanted to. She went out and met the people and talked to the people and found out the way they would like to be treated. Then, she went back to the White House and told her husband, The President, what needed to be done.

This video of Marian Anderson shows a moving and brilliant moment of triumph for both Mrs. Roosevelt and Ms. Anderson, for some of the same (and for some different, of course) reasons.

1 comment:

Nancy Roberts said...

Right on Molly, your students will be lucky to have you. At the risk of sounding cheesy, all school curricula should be required to offer "Girl Power 101." As someone who just traveled through Peru for 10 days on her own, I feel pretty damn strong.