I have a gripe with Book Boy’s school. I just hate it when they send home fundraisers for charities. I don’t mind the “drives” – coat drive, book drive, food drive, etc. – because I know that those directly benefit local kids.
But yesterday, Book Boy asked me how much money he has. I said $31, I thought, and asked why. He said he was going to donate it all to “jump for a cure” or whatever the American Heart Association calls it. I was a little surprised, but understood completely when he said it was because he wanted to get a prize this year. Tonight he brought home a flashy, full-color brochure complete with a list of the various prize levels. He put a $10 bill in the envelope (I think the remaining $21 is actually in my wallet at the moment) and asked if I would donate. I said I wasn’t sure, then said I’d donate $5.
He was upset, and showed me the prize he wanted to “win” – it was at the $125 level. (I don’t remember what the prize was, but I remember thinking that it was a piece of junk, as these “prizes” always are.) I told him I would donate a little but I couldn’t give that much. Fine then, he said, let’s ask Mimi. Now, I do NOT like to solicit donations from anyone (or sales, when the kids are selling things) and I told him no, we weren’t going to do that. He said “Don’t you care about saving people’s hearts?” and ran back to his room. (I don’t believe that he wants to donate to save people’s hearts, he just wants that darn “prize.”)
I’m still not going to donate more than $5, and quite frankly I hope he doesn’t donate his money. I know that sounds selfish, but as a family, we have our “pet” causes* to which we give generously of our time and energy – and money, as we can afford to – and I really don’t appreciate the school “pimping” my kid like this. This is actually the same kind of thing that turned us off Boy Scouts – the very first meeting we had was basically a sales meeting for a bunch of popcorn salesmen (the kids) and I just didn’t want to have any part of it.
Anybody else have this kind of situation? How do you handle it? Do you let your kids give their money so they can get the “prize,” knowing they’ll wish later that they had their money back?