How much do you love your books? Do you love them enough to tell people about them? This post is about knowing what your passions are so you are working your strengths.
My *spoiled cook* rep was very encouraging. She called once a week to make sure I was inviting people and feeling good about the party. She reminded me that I don’t have to feel bad calling people to come to my house to visit, laugh and eat good food. That’s a shout out to her–Hoo-rah! for Jodi! She really is good at her job.
And yet I am allergic to letting money out of my hand. Therefore calling people to come to a shopping party makes me feel like I am calling people to come to a picnic in a field of ragweed.
I’m so thankful for all of the sympathy I got on the phone call anxiety that I wanted to give an update about the party. Then something else happened that I had to share too. They relate.
First, the party. I made my phone call invites the scardey-cat way, calling when I was fairly certain no one was home and leaving messages. Then Jodi mailed out invitation cards. And last, the day before, I called most everyone back and left a reminder message. Three people I was sure were coming didn’t. Two people I didn’t expect to come did. There was a total of eight of us there. But we were eight very fun, very loud and laughing people so it felt nice and big and cozy. For a fundraiser, it wasn’t a great turn-out. Our total donation, including two internet orders, will only be about $40. But for a home sales party, thrown by me, we did pretty good. I can’t remember ever having one of these shows and selling almost $400 of merchandise.
That’s the facts and figures of the event. The heart of the matter was made clear to me early in the morning. Jodi told me again and again, if you love something, if you are passionate about it, calling your friends and acquaintances is just no big deal. My fundraising and development mentor back in the working days (me? with phone call anxiety, a F & D gal? Hah!) Said the same thing. Passion is the key quality of a good representative.
Yesterday afternoon Betty from the grade school I desperately want my girls to go to called. She said, “The district has approved a second Spanish Immersion Kindergarten for Harney. Please come down and register Eleanor. We are accepting anyone who applies, no matter where they live. We need at least 28 students to offer two kindergartens.”
“Eleanor will only be four in July. Do really want me to register her?” I asked, thinking I was so funny.
Betty was disappointed. I’ve been hanging around Harney Elementary at Parent meetings and story times, because I want Norah to go there in 2009 so badly.
Betty said “*sigh* No. My granddaughter is four. You’d better not try to get her in yet.”
But, we both knew that two classes this year makes two classes next year more likely. And since I am out of boundary, I need two classes to guarantee a spot.
I offered to spread the word to my friends and she was very grateful.
It’s what I did next that is so remarkable to me. Without even a hesitation I picked up the phone, the phone book and called everyone I know that a) has a new kindergartener this fall and b) has not expressed a disdain for bilingualism (yes, some otherwise bright people I know have been that foolish.)
I called all of them! I promoted! I shared stats and info with passion. I am chock full of stats and info about bilingual education in general and Harney’s program in particular. I am chock full of passion about making our kids smart. Then, in one last effort to promote the program, I called the director of the pre-school Norah is enrolled in for next year. I told her, “You don’t know me, but…”
I told her how I know their school, how I got the information from Harney, and why I thought she might like to know. That she might like to tell the parents of the kids graduating out of her program. At first, she was polite and sort of stand off-ish. But after only a moment she realized my message was short and it was just free info about education that might help someone else. Then she was much more effusive and grateful. She thanked me very much and told me she does have kids already headed to Harney whose parents would definitely want to know about the room in the Spanish classes. Just a side note, Harney will have regular kindergarten for up to two classes, if that is how many parents prefer, and up to two immersion Spanish classes (the kids in those classes will stay in immersion until fifth grade).
Well, that’s about it. There is the thing that I care enough about to bother friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Frankly, it is time that America joined the rest of the modern world and got a twentieth century education system. After all, its only a century late. (One hundred points for you if you live in a town that already has bilingual education–like Portland, across the river. Ten Thousand points for you if your kids are in it!)