Teacher Appreciation Day
Activists vs. Agriculture
By M.P. Cremer
When it comes to my column, blog and agriculture, I don’t often write about my mom. I think it’s because I don’t have as many photos of her on a horse as I do my dad, but let’s be honest here, nothing I have ever done in my entire life would’ve been possible if it weren’t for her.
So, here’s what you need to know about my mom Kristi Jane Purviance, or “Mrs. P” as most of her former students call her on Teacher Appreciation Day.
If my mom were to write a short bio about herself, it would probably read something like this: Kristi is a sixth-generation Red River County, Texas resident and a mother of three. She works at Rivercrest Independent School District where she taught elementary school for over 25 years. Currently, she serves the school as their communication director. Kristi loves going camping with her family, planning elaborate trips and adventures, two-stepping with her husband John, listening to Prince’s “Purple Rain” album on repeat and intensely watching football.
This pretty much describes my mom in a nutshell. However, there’s more to my mom than a few sentences about her interests. Fair warning, this is about to get a little braggy and a little sappy, but c’mon, if you can’t brag on your mom, what the heck can you brag on?
When I was eight, I made tiny, clay sculptures (if you can even call them that) and gave them to friends and family as gifts. My mom thought these were something special and let me think that too, so instead of writing my hobby off as just that, she encouraged me to capitalize on it. She printed out posters for me and packed around a TV tray at Bogata Frontier Days so I could set up and sell my 50 cent “art.” I remember I made 11 whole dollars that day, something Mama was proud of and bought me a snow cone to celebrate.
When I was nine, I decided I hated standardized testing and rightfully so. Mom knew I was passionate about the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test (the standardized test I had to take and she had to teach to for numerous years in the state of Texas) and shared with me a sentiment I still live by today, which is, “You can’t just call it stupid and expect anything to change, no one will listen to you – don’t just complain. Get a better argument.”
Then, she coached me on how to make valid, well-thought-out arguments and helped me type out a letter to President George W. Bush about standardized testing. He probably never read the letter, I know, but he sent me back an autographed photo of himself boarding Air Force One, so I call it a small victory.
When I was a junior in high school, I decided I wanted to be a journalist. Mama helped me make a resume and printed out copies of it. She put my resumes in red folders “so they would stand out on someone’s desk” as she said, then looked up the addresses of all the newspapers surrounding our area and sent me on my way to apply for jobs which weren’t even open. By the end of the day I was a sports columnist for the local paper, with a press pass and all – Mama’s red folder plan worked.
When I applied for grad school in 2018, Mom helped me write my application essay. A few months later when I decided to drop out and get a job, she didn’t panic or have anything negative to say at all, she just asked, “What’s our next move?”
When I told her the move was 1,000 miles away, she was sad at first, as any mom would be, but smiled and said, “You know I can’t teach you to be independent and chase your dreams then get upset when you actually do it.”
Incidentally, this hit me like a ton of bricks and I almost just stayed put in Rosalie, Texas for the rest of my life – but, as she always does, Mom pushed me to go after what was best for me. Look where it got me: doing what I love, married to the person I love, in a house with a guest room always ready for a visit from Mom.
To this day, my mom proofreads pretty much everything I write. She gives me feedback on photos, graphic design and whether or not my shoes match my outfit before I speak at an event. Mama sends me articles to read and podcasts about misconceptions in ag. She calls me with ideas for videos, photo ops and experiments she thinks I should try.
Heck, this woman has gone toe-to-toe with people on Facebook who try to say something negative about agriculture or my blog. I wouldn’t even be writing Activists vs. Agriculture if it wasn’t for her – my mom is always in my corner.
My mom is fiercely supportive, overwhelmingly encouraging, drop-everything-for-you kind of dependable, deeply selfless and most importantly, she’s the best teacher I’ve ever had.
So, here’s to all the teachers out there. May we know them, may we love them, may we be raised by them and may we appreciate them.