Have you noticed how often the theme of “bring back Home Ec” has made it into the news in the last few weeks? It seems that everyone from the hosts of the two most popular AM television programs—Today and Good Morning America—to the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, a very public plea is being made to return to providing instruction for our children in basic living skills and preparation for adulthood. If you’re anything like me (and if you’re reading this blog, I strongly suspect that you are), this trend is very exciting and long overdue. Finally, influential people are beginning to recognize and acknowledge that what we teach is vital and vitally needed to combat so very many of our nation’s most chronic health, social and economic woes!
So FACS/Home Economics has been getting some very good press of late. That’s great! However, the question that comes to my mind now is, “How do we capitalize on this exposure?” Do we quietly discuss the good press with our fellow FACS professionals and hope that the trend continues long enough to have a real impact or do we use this as a spring board to action? Someone raised this very legitimate question on Linkedin and it led me to the question I so often ask myself, What Would Ellen Do?
If you don’t know who Ellen Swallow Richards is, the question of “what would Ellen do ?” probably means nothing to you. If you are a FACS professional and you don’t know who Ellen is, then your FACS education is seriously lacking. ESR was the first woman admitted to MIT and she was also the founder of Home Economics. Ellen was one tough, smart dynamic lady who never backed down from a challenge in her life! At a time when women were denied virtually every advantage reserved for men, Ellen refused to give in to the status quo. She kept knocking on doors, writing letters, making application, and studying on her own until she was granted access to the education she so deeply desired. Her tenacity and the results of her desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans continues to have an impact today. Guess it’s pretty obvious that I’m a total Ellen groupie!
My admiration for this remarkable woman prompted me to declare a holiday in Ellen’s honor! I call December 3, Ellen Swallow Richards’ birthday, FACS Founder Day! I figure if someone can arbitrarily create Talk Like a Pirate Day, I can honor Ellen with her own day! When I was still in the classroom, my students and I celebrated FACS Founder Day every year. They looked forward to it and it was a fun and worthwhile way to keep Ellen’s legacy alive.
So you’re probably asking yourselves just where I’m going with this little FACS history lesson. Well, here’s my point—There are 35 days between today and FACS Founder Day, December 3. Each day between now and December 3 (With the exclusion of Thanksgiving Day. I’ll be cooking my brains out that day!) I will be sharing a very practical suggestion for addressing the question of how do we capitalize on the recent discussion about “bring back Home Economics.” In case you think I won’t be able to come up with 35 suggestions, I want to assure you that I’ve already made a list that includes more than 35 courses of action!!
I’m calling this series #Save FACS because I will be sharing links to my blog posts on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest under the topical heading #Save FACS. I want so much to mobilize all FACS professionals everywhere to stand up and make their presence and value known! We can only make an impact when we band together and make some noise!
So let’s get this movement started! What would Ellen do today? You can get started by following this blog, becoming a fan of the Fresh FACS FB page (www.facebook.com/FreshFACS) and follow us on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/freshfacs) and Twitter (twitter.com/freshfacs). It would be fabulous if you would join in and share your ideas for saving FACS and building on the momentum we’re currently enjoying. I don’t claim to have all the answers! That is absolutely NOT what this is all about. What I do know is that we can’t afford to let this moment pass without seizing the opportunity and making our voices heard!
Please join me in the #SaveFACS movement and start planning your FACS Founder Day event now! December 3 will be here before you know it!