Today in first grade we talked about a boy named Wiglaf who happens to be a dragon slayer. We talked about what animals need to survive. We talked about fact families and the CRCT. And we talked about what it would be like to live without shoes in honor of the annual One Day Without Shoes global event. My students thought it was funny at first. One kid had on Batman socks while another was sporting SpongeBob. It took a while to settle my students down, but after the laughter stopped (and I threw out a couple of warnings) we talked.
I told them that in some areas you have to have shoes to attend school and if you don’t have any- “Then you’re not allowed to go to school” someone interrupted. Bingo. Cause and effect. We wrote essays imagining what it would be like to live without shoes, we talked about how we could help, and we talked about the power in standing up for something- be it cheating, bullying, or anything else in the world that is unfair. The point is to take a stand, to start a conversation, and to create change.
I hope that they will remember their day without shoes, but more importantly why I made them do it. It is hard for me to imagine life without shoes and I know it may be even harder for my students. But then again, they are the same age as many of the children in need and what better time to teach them about the world? I also hope that I remember today’s lesson. Sometimes I forget just how easy it is to make a difference. It doesn’t take much. I see twenTY someones doing it everyday. After all, Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS had a dream in his 20’s and he is now selling millions of shoes. I’m not saying it was easy, but it all started because he wanted to make a difference. I can do it. You can do it. We can do it. Come on tysomeones, let’s be a part of something bigger. Let’s get our feet wet. Pun intended.
“Who is Tom? There is no Tom. If we sell a pair of shoes today, we give away a pair of shoes tomorrow. Originally we thought of “Tomorrow’s Shoes,” but I could only fit “TOMS” on the label. I had no idea everybody would want to meet him. There is no Tom; it’s an idea for a better tomorrow.”-Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoe Giver and Founder of TOMS