So it’s no exaggeration when I say, with three kids in three different schools, we are pretty knee deep in fundraising brochures, catalogs and all things “give us money.” The wrapping paper, the candy, the walk-a-thon sponsorship, the 5-k races. It’s a lot to take. If you give to one and not the other, you’re favoring. If you give to nobody, you’re a jerk, and if you give to all, you’re broke.
When the kids were little, we’d just call my folks, my in-laws and my brother. Done. We’d split their donations between the 3 kids and BAM! Done! But now, it’s not that easy. The kids can read. They can see the prizes. They want to win! They want their class to win. They want their school to win. Jeepers. When did they become so friggin’ competitive?!
Last year I spent over $100 on wrapping paper for one of my kids. I spent another $60 on kitchen gadgets that I’ve never used, and another $25 on candles. (Note to self: you can never go wrong with candles)
The truth is, I was doing the kids a disservice, by just calling a few family members and calling it a day. I was doing the work for them. I wasn’t teaching them anything. They may have won the prize, but what good is it, if they weren’t the ones who did the work to win it? That’s not good parenting. That’s laziness. That’s “just get it done because my head is going to explode with everything else that I have to remember to fill out and pass in…” Yup, I admit it. That’s on me.
But yesterday, my boys surprised me. As Boy Scouts, they are doing a Walk-a-Thon, and need to get sponsors. The form has been on my kitchen table, for each of them, and I keep moving it around every time I clear the dishes, clear the table, and clear my mind of this task of calling my family members for donations.
The boys came downstairs in their uniforms. “Is there a Scout meeting?” I asked. “No, mom. We thought we’d go through the neighborhood and ask for donations for the walk-a-thon.” Said my middle. “Yah, we already talked about what we’re gonna say,” said my eldest.
And off they went, with their forms, their pens and their smiles. Wow.
An hour later they showed up with almost $200 in donations. They were sweating. They were tired. They were proud. And that’s what’s been missing all these years of just filling out the form. I’d been depriving them of that feeling of pride, in a job well done.
Yes, it’s easy to write some names down, put the money up and collect later. But there’s no pride or joy in that.
My boys taught me…well, more like reminded me…they are capable. They are smart. They got behind a cause that they believed in for the Scouts, and it mattered enough to them to get out there, to put themselves out there, and get it done, on their own.
Perhaps fundraising season won’t be so bad after all.