Right in the middle of a great football game, my doorbell rang. There stood a young boy who kindly, but assertively, explained that he was selling candles to benefit his school. Before he could get through his sales pitch, I let my irritation show by interrupting him to say I wasn't interested. He then smiled, extended his hand and said, "thank you sir, I'm sorry I bothered you."
He turned away and without missing a beat, approached my neighbor's house. I stood stunned, watching him and admiring his tenacity. I realized how in that instant, this boy was a better man than I. Naturally, I waved him back over and bought a few candles.
We've all been approached by kids selling stuff - all kinds of stuff. And almost all of us have expressed irritation at one time or another. Either at the prospect of telling a kid "no", or buying items we never really wanted in the first place.
But the next time a budding salesperson approaches you with a glossy catalog full of candles or cookie dough or wrapping paper, take a minute to consider what this kid is really learning.
Fund raising teaches kids that hard work reaps big rewards. Achieving goals is often met with recognition for the student - teaching kids that with determination and dedication they will succeed.
Fund raising also teaches the art of communication. Kids learn how to present their ideas to adults, an opportunity rarely found in the classroom. Like you, I come in contact every day with adults who have yet to learn to communicate effectively with others.
Now I am not suggesting that any parent send their child out alone, selling door to door to strangers. But to family and friends, fund raising is a great opportunity for kids to build self esteem while developing their people skills.
Remember, the kid standing at your door today, is more than likely our business and community leaders of tomorrow. So give em a break and open your wallets. Because together, we can help this next generation build a better East Texas.
Do allow your child to do the talking when approaching a potential buyer; most buyers will appreciate the fact that the child is putting forth his or her own efforts.
Do make a donation if you would prefer your child not to participate in the selling process.
Do help the children by informing them of how to approach people and what to say using good manners and courtesy.
Do find out whether the fundraiser allows for online sales. Many family members or friends may live out of town but still want to contribute so parents should ask schools to use fundraisers that allow for this.
Don't take the order forms to work or ask your friends for support.
Don't do the project yourself without help from your child.
Don't let your child sell merchandise door-to-door except to people you know.
Don't ask the same family to buy something more than once a year. (Some families make exceptions for relatives.)
Don't feel like you have to buy large amounts of every item that goes on sale just because you're the parent.
Don't allow children to carry collected money unless accompanied by a responsible adult.
Don't feel bad about suggesting alternative fundraising events to the school such as theme nights and auctions.