If you see a "grassroots" organization with these:
- a slick marketing campaign,
- professionally-printed signs,
- free t-shirts,
- glossy pamphlets,
- pens with their logo,
- squishy balls with their logo,
- frisbees with their logo,
- beer can cooshies with their logo,
- billboards with their logo,
- television or radio advertisements,
- fancy charter busses full of their supporters,
- glowing newspaper articles from their professionally-written press releases,
- copy machines that cost more than your minivan,
- staff members that make 6-figure salaries,
- a rented office located in an office-park,
- a lawyer on retainer,
- if they pay parents $ and give them a free t-shirt to attend school board meetings,
- if they take charter bus-loads of cute children wearing their free t-shirts to legislative events, and drill those children on exactly what to say to the politicians,
- if they give campaign contributions to elected officials,
- if they host fancy luncheons, dinners, or retreats for elected officials,
- if their organization's members are in your Superintendent's cabinet (despite having little or no experience in education or classrooms)
- if their organization's members are strangely appointed to positions of authority (despite having little or no experience in education or classrooms),
- if they only answer emails and calls about their organization during business hours.
That is NOT grassroots!
You can bet some sugar-daddy company paid for all of it. This is what we Momma Bears call: "astroturf." Some may even go so far as to call those types of groups: "weeds." (Gosh, I hope their lawyer doesn't sue us for saying that.)
True grassroot parent groups don't have that kind of money to spend on marketing. Heck, we spend all our money on our children and on school fundraisers because public schools aren't funded adequately. (Would you like to buy some wrapping paper and chocolate bars so our band can purchase more drums for all the students who want to play percussion?) Instead, we Momma Bears publicize by word-of-mouth, email, Facebook, Twitter, and maybe some photocopies from our little desktop printers (which reminds me: I need to get my ink cartridges refilled at Costco soon).
What does the root of grass look like? Grass roots are really quite shallow so they can quickly suck up nutrients. Grass is a fickle seasonal plant (as my husband can attest to). If it doesn't get enough water, it withers and dies. If it doesn't get enough light, it dies. If it gets too much water in the hot sun, it scorches and dies. Grass has to be fertilized and aerated, and sometimes even needs a layer of sand on top so the roots don't rot. Grass is high-maintenance. Grass is expensive. Somebody has to chop grass heads off every week or two (so code enforcement doesn't come to your house and give you a citation for having an unkempt yard). Also, dogs poop in grass.
Momma Bears is definitely NOT grassroots. We are deeper than that... we are a TREE ROOTS organization. Our roots run deep and wide into the ground to create a strong support system. Even when trees are dormant, they are still full of life. Trees are permanent and unmovable. You can't just dig them up, roll them up, and put them in another yard like you can sod. Trees give cooling shade and are, for the most part, low maintenance. They grow and flourish wherever they take root in many climates. Trees offer protection for birds and animals. Trees offer enjoyment for children who swing and climb in their branches. As pleasant as trees are, you should never underestimate tree roots one bit, because tree roots are strong and expansive. Powerful roots can damage foundations, sidewalks, and sewer lines without anyone even realizing what is happening under ground.
Here is my favorite part:
What doesn't grow under a tree?
My husband can tell you this is a truth because he had to add more stinky mulch last year to cover up the areas under our big trees where grass would not grow.
Momma Bears is not grassroots, we are TREEroots. We are growing quickly and meeting other Trees that grow in other parts of the state and country. We can make a difference. The grassroots organizations are terrified of us. They can't outspend our intelligence, and they can't buy our votes. We are smart. We are informed. We are powerful. We will do what is right for our children and their schools.
Coming up in future blogs:
Momma Bears is going to tell you about some of these so-called "grassroots" organizations that claim to be advocating for your children. Parents, you need to know about them, so that your branches can block their light.
Click HERE to read our "Liar, Liar Pants on Fire" series about so-called Grassroots organizations