Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Today we feature a picture of two Suffragists. The picture shows Mrs. Stanley McCormick and Mrs. Charles Parker, and was taken in 1913. I am happy to see that they have a decent sized sign, unlike the picture from yesterday. However, I am concerned that the message on the sign is not very snappy. I am becoming more convinced that the length of the suffrage movement was prolonged by the lack of proper signage. The movement was finally successful in 1920, but as some have pointed out, there are many places in the world where women still can not vote. I am sometimes surprised that there is not more discussion of the treatment of women in middle eastern countries, where all types of brutality, including murder can be legal in matters of men's "honor".

Update: Many of the longer term readers of this blog will remember a remarkable young man named Dustin that I had as a student last year. When I met him he was a very troubled young man. Most of the teachers feared him, and he had made many mistakes along the way. Most everyone had given up on him, and felt that there was no way his story could end up good. I had the privilege of watching him make an amazing transformation during the year. He learned how to be a gentleman, and how to overcome his past mistakes. Towards the end of the school year, he even decided to enter an essay contest to win a trip to Washington DC. He actually won the contest. Dustin was a really poor kid, so I described his story to readers on this blog, and described how while it was an expense paid trip, Dustin was in need of money for some new clothes, and some pocket money for the trip. The response was overwhelming, with readers contributing over $1,400 in the matter of a few hours. When I presented the contributions to Dustin at school, Dustin took the money, and gave 100% of it to the school to create a new scholarship fund for other students, and kept none for himself. Instead, he chopped firewood for people, and did yard work to put together the money he needed for the trip.

I have gotten lots of email from people asking how his trip went. I am happy to report that he truly had a wonderful time. It was the first time he had ever been on an airplane, and the first time he had ever been more than 45 miles from his home. As part of the trip, he was able to meet with his congressmen with a group of other students. During the meeting he made a very large impression on the congressmen. After the meeting, the congressmen told Dustin that he would like to meet with him for a few minutes one-on-one. After the other students left, the congressman told Dustin, "Dustin you are a very intelligent young man and you know a a lot about the world and politics for your age. Dustin I know you will be a very important man in our country one day." The congressman did not know anything about Dustin's story, this was based on nothing other than the impression Dustin made on him in the larger meeting.

It is hard to fully appreciate this without knowing him at the first of last year, as he was by far the toughest kid in school. I tell this story because of the important role the readers of this blog played in his transformation. Dustin, and the class of tough kids he was in, received many hundreds of encouraging emails from readers of this blog, complimenting him on the work he did in building a WEB site. This was something that changed his perspective completely. Many even mailed in interesting gifts to the group. Then, even though he did not keep the money that was sent in, the generosity of people he did not know profoundly changed his perspective on life.

I tell this story because I think that there is an important lesson for us all. We can never give up on kids. Situations that might look hopeless are not. When people care, miracles can happen.


  1. Thank you for the update on Dustin! I started following the week you posted about him winning, and I'm glad to hear how things have worked out!

  2. PJM, your story of Dustin is absolutely impressive. You made me think. Actually I am more and more convinced to start a project I thought for a long time but never found the conviction to actually initiate, a summer school for poor and hopeless kids.

    I have a lot of time in my hands and some resources and a growing feeling that it is time to start giving something back.

    Thank you again.

  3. MBadragan,
    I encourage you to pursue your plans. Think of the leverage on society by impacting one young person. What does it cost society to have a person go through life on public assistance, or in correctional facilities, compared to that person contributing to society and paying taxes. The difference is profound. Unfortunately, public schools are not teaching the things that are most important, and reaching distressed young people with a message of hope, and the things like character, integrity, honesty, dilligence and so forth can make a huge difference.

  4. Thanks much for the update on Dustin, I have been wondering about him. We readers were glad for the opportunity to be included, and are very much aware that YOU were the catalyst in Dustin's turn-a-round.

    Question 1: Where did you get the plans for the Peacock castle?

    Question 2: Does Mrs. PJM know that peacocks can sound like the horn on an 18 wheeler? And just as loud?

  5. PJM:

    What a wonderful story. I'm so happy that things worked out.

    And you are aboslutely correct re what the ramifications are of changing one young person's life.

    I am currently involved in health care advocacy work for the elderly, which was brought on through my trials and tribulations in caring for my parents.

  6. Glad to hear Dustin's trip went well.

  7. Brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for the update.

  8. Glad to hear about Dustin. If only I'd of had a teacher like you when I was in high school in the 70's. Not saying my partying was their fault but if just 1 teacher or school admin would have been like you rather than just look the other way I'd have been better off.

  9. Pleased to hear Dustin's trip
    went so well. It must have been
    an amazing journey for him.

  10. Thanks for the update on Dustin!

    I just wanted to let you know that I've nominated you for a Kreative Blogger Award. Keep up the great photos!

  11. duckthief,
    Thanks for the kind words!

  12. Mentoring is a gift to the world.


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