The GEM Debate:
Should Kids Fundraise For Their Education?
When I was a teen I carried in my car trunk boxes of rotten oranges. Why? Because I sold them and I was too embarrassed to go back and get the money.
I’ve never liked selling which is why today’s article about kids who are selling candy and other goodies for their school hit a major sore spot with me. The article calls the practice irritating, stress inducing, and dangerous. I agree on all fronts. There’s no way kids (and, yep, Joelle’s first foray into candy selling happened when she was about four months old) should have the burden of having to raise money for their schools. I understand there’s a lot of debate about taxes, etc. in all of the school districts and what that money should provide; kids need and deserve more, but should they be the ones to go out and beg for the money, compete for prizes, and put themselves in harm’s way? I don’t think so.
And there is another aspect of this that was traumatizing to me. We aren’t all sellers. I have read several books and articles that say we should all learn how to sell. The skill helps you with your power to sell yourself which is what all job and college interviews are, and let’s not forget the top goal of a date. Being able to ask for what you want is tantamount to a feeling of well being. So at the core it would seem getting kids to sell at a young age would boost their future success except the fail is no one gives the kids any training. Very few businesses have entry level people go out into the field without teaching them a few things about sales. So you send out a little one to sell, they don’t, but their friends do and you are asking for trouble; you get a child with a great chance of having ill feelings about something I think we just established is a critical skill. Shame on you, school system.
I do still see kids with candy and holiday wrapping paper pamphlets, but I do believe our world has gone a bit more digital. There are ways to sell now where you don’t have to put your child in danger nor do you as a parent have to walk around the break room harassing all your colleagues. So there is hope that this practice will eventually phase out soon.
As for me and my oranges, did you wonder what I did about getting the money for them? I worked at McDonald’s so I just bought them all myself (after a period of procrastination). And, frankly, I bet if every parent evenly kicked into a fund the school could honestly make what they do from the sales after everyone gets their cut. No trauma or undue competition for the kids, and money for the school. Yeah. It’s never that easy.
So what do you think? Should kids have to make money for their education? Would you rather just put money into a school fund or get out there and sell with your child? What experiences did you have with this? Let us know.
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Ella Rucker is a mother of a two-year-old girl and the guardian of two boys. She is currently working on dispelling the myth that being a “stay at home mom” has anything to do with staying at home. Ella moved from Ohio to New York City twelve years ago where she is currently assisting the head GEM and proving that sticking your neck out just might help you win the race. She loves to read about the “mental laws” and seeing them work in her life, but her greatest joy is laughing madly and wildly with her daughter who amazes her everyday. You can also find her writing for mochamanual.com or by following her tweets @ellalaverne.