When Jarrett Krosoczka’s first children’s books was published he went to his old elementary school to give a talk to the kids about being an author and illustrator. On that visit he spotted his old lunch lady, Jeannie and that meeting sparked the evolution of his comic series Lunch Lady graphic novel series. Jarrett uses his Ted talk “Why lunch ladies are heroes” to share with us why that encounter with his former lunch lady inspired him.
When Jarrett bumped into his lunch lady she didn’t recognize him. She thought that he was his uncle. Jarrett was amazed that she could recognize his family. Jeannie filled Jarrett in on her life, she had grandkids and kids. Grandkids? Kids? Jarrett had never thought before of lunch ladies having a life outside of the school grounds. His imagination went into overdrive; what if their was a lunch lady who used fish sticks nunchucks to fight off evil cyborgs? And so the Lunch Lady comic book series was launched.
At the book launch Jarrett invited Jeannie to attend and presented her with a canvas comic painting of the Lunch Lady. Sadly she passed away two years later. At her funeral that same canvas painting was placed by her husband near her coffin. He told Jarrett that what he had done through his comic book series had acknowledged her life’s work and had validated what she did.
Lunch Ladies (or Men) matter
Jarrett knew that he needed to spread the appreciation for lunch ladies further so he set up School Lunch Hero Day, a day where kids can make creative projects for their lunch staff. It’s a day where stories are also shared about all the ways that lunch staff make a difference and it’s not always restricted to the school cafeteria. Stories are shared about lunch staff who actually created a mobile cafeteria to feed kids during the summer who otherwise would go without, or lunch staff who would keep an eye on kids and alert school guidance officers if they thought any kids might need some help.
Why this matters
The School Lunch Hero day was set up to let the lunch staff know that they matter, they are important and appreciate. This talk made me ask myself who else is not getting the appreciation they deserve? There are so many different occupations and jobs in life and some jobs are held in higher positions of esteem than others. It shouldn’t be that way.
It’s so easy to forget to share some gratitude to the people that we cross paths with each day, but just imagine how better the world would be if we simply stopped to say; I appreciate what you do.
What did you think of Jarrett’s talk? Do you have some stories to share about your lunch staff? Please share them below.