It was another beautiful Southern California morning.
I stay a little longer on Fridays after dropping Nate and Kiara at Elementary School. Fridays are assembly day and I like to listen in to hear what is going on and to briefly recapture my childhood, when things were a little simpler and purer than they are today.
Each assembly starts with the Pledge of Allegiance and Miss Miller singing God Bless America, followed by announcements and sometimes awards.
Room 22 - “Most Enthusiastic Reader”
Room 17 - “Best Helper”
This Friday was a little different. After Miss Miller finished, the Principal told us that we would be hearing from Mrs. Hazard who was the head of fund raising for the Parents Teachers Association (PTA).
“Good morning everybody”.
“Good morning Mrs. Hazard”.
“What a beautiful morning. And you are all so well behaved. Today, I’d like to talk to you about our fund raising drive that you all have been helping with.”
The fundraising drive to which Mrs. Hazard was referring was already the 3rd fundraising event of the year and we were only in September. If you live in California and have kids then you probably can put fundraising on your resume. To be in a school or join any organization with your kids is almost a guarantee that you’ll need to hit up your family, friends, and neighbors to buy chocolate, wrapping paper, books, candy, etc.
Don’t get me wrong. I realize that our taxes don’t cover the cost of the 49th best school system in the country. And the PTAs are trying to help by raising funds. But I just don’t feel comfortable leaving boxes of chocolate with little signs in the printer room at work. Or guilting my in-laws into buying something new every other week. I feel awkward when a “friend of the family” invites us over for dinner and we find ourselves at a multi-level marketing recruitment event for ionized water. (This actually happened to us). And I’d feel like one of those MLM people if I were to hit up my friends and family every other week for a new donation. As a result, Joyce and I usually end up buying something ourselves. And that is that.
“How many of you have already sold something?”, Mrs. Hazard asked.
About half the hands went up. I looked over at Kiara as she slumped noticeably and put her head down in shame.
“Very good. Now how many of you have sold 10 or more items”.
About 20 or so hands stayed up.
“Excellent. Please come up after assembly and I will enter your name into a special drawing”.
Kiara slumped a little more.
“I’ll be back here on Tuesday and any one who has sold 10 or more items will also be entered in the drawing. Now, remember, we have only 1 more week left. So go out there and SELL, SELL, SELL!!”
I was about to bust an artery. Was I listening to someone in the PTA or Alec Baldwin in Glengary Glenross?
I had half a mind to confront Mrs. Hazard on the spot, but making a scene in front of the kids and the moms did not seem like a good idea. Plus, I probably had to think this through. Maybe I was over-reacting. After all, life is about selling yourself, so Kiara might as well start as soon as possible. After all, no sense coddling a 2nd grader, right???
Later that day I asked Kiara about what had occurred and how she felt.
“I’m going to get in trouble”, she said.
“Because I didn’t sell anything”.
She was almost in tears.
Am I wrong and am I making too much out of this? Should I just encourage and help my daughter to sell some wrapping paper to the neighbors.
Or did Mrs. Hazard step over the line?
What do you think?
harry the ASIC giy