How do you define courage?

Being a single working woman takes courage–in our society or anywhere. Being a single working mom takes even more courage. Just saw a movie on Netflix instant view about a single working mom in 1960s-70s Poland who quietly spearheaded a movement that turned into a massive triumph for labor rights. After numerous struggles–she didn’t even know how to read or write and had to learn that in order to get a job running a crane that would allow her to work somewhat fewer hours each week than her former welding position–and including watching overworked fellow workers die in fires related to crappy work conditions, she suffered jail, beatings, firing, and more. Her championing the cause of fairness to workers eventually led to an industry-wide strike that at last crippled the Polish “party” politicians who’d taken over the oppression of the workers after Hitler was kicked out.

The bonus is that embedded in the film is a beautiful, though brief, love story.

Most of us aren’t firebrand activists and never will be. But God bless the people who are willing to sacrifice so much to fight for justice. Check it out on Netflix–it’s called simply Strike. You won’t find it on Amazon.

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Leave It to Beaver family values aren’t outdated

Leave it to beaver_Game_Board_01Watching an episode of the old Leave it to Beaver TV series from the 50s. Beaver is showing his mom some beautiful drawings he found in a sketchbook. Mom tells him they’re his father’s work. And Beaver decides he’ll ask his dad to draw his school poster for him. Mom, by the way, is dressed in an elegant shirtwaist dress with a ring of pearls adorning her slender neck and nonchalantly dabbing furniture polish on her perfectly clean rag and tenderly dusting the top of an elegant cabinet in the front hall. Looks just like the way most moms live today…not.

The lesson of the show was great. Kids need to do their own posters for school–not get their parents to do the work. But there was an interesting scene in the classroom. After two girls volunteered to dress dolls up in costumes of the American revolution, a boy raised his hand, too. The teacher sternly corrected the boy. “That’s not funny,” she said. “Everybody else thought so,” said the boy.

Makes me think of the changes that have gone on in our culture in the several decades I’ve been an adult. Interestingly, many modern parents who offer dolls to their young sons find the boys still tend to choose guns and tanks anyway—or at least dolls that turn into huge-monster fighting guys.

But the most beautiful part about Leave it to Beaver is how much the dad respects the mom. I’ve always remembered a quote I read years ago. “The best gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.” Beaver and Wally’s dad loved and respected their mom.

That’s one thing a child might miss when being raised by a single mom alone. But, oh, the wonderful things that baby may have with its single mom can be forces just as powerful–for the positive or the negative. It’s more about the mental health and self-esteem of the custodial parent, no matter what the marital situation.

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Former single working mom gives free haircuts

Now we’re talking! This former Iranian-immigrant-former-single-working-mom remembers how tough it was when she first came to this country 25 years ago. Now she’s offering to make a real difference for others in need. This San Francisco Chronicle article recounts how she is now offering free haircuts, color and styling to those in need.

Guess what? She can’t find many people who will take her up on it. Because Americans half the time don’t believe it when you say it’s free. Don’t value it. I don’t know about you, but I’d be happy to accept her offer any time if I lived in San Francisco.

Do you know any single women who are reaching out to help others? Send your stories.

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