Friday, October 31, 2014

The Makings of a Serial Killer...or Hero....

There’s this guy…he had a rough start. His parents died and he was sent to live with people who hated him. They either kept him locked up in a tiny room, or made him their slave. They spoiled their child, while completely ignoring him except to yell at him. He spent many holidays watching that boy be spoiled excessively, while all he got was an order or a reprimand. In school he was alienated, bullied and ignored. He grew up without love and without laughter or joy in his life. He was constantly reminded of how much of a burden he was, and how inconvenient his mere existence was to everyone who knew him. He had little prospects, and no self-esteem. He had been subjected to this abuse from infancy, and the only role models in his life were shallow, greedy and hateful people. They spewed hatred out of their mouths almost every time they opened it…it was all he knew. His future was very, very bleak and his past was even bleaker. 

Little love, lots of hate, abuse and bullying – perfect recipe for a criminal, right? How can someone who was subjected to such hate and such maltreatment ever turn out ok? How can a child develop a moral compass when they have little to no experience with morals? Sounds like the making of a serial killer to me….or, of course, Harry Potter.

Seriously, have you guys ever considered how, on God’s green earth, Harry ever made it out of there so well rounded? I mean, sure nature has something to do with it but nurture does too. Even if you had the best nature, could you really fight off all that negative nuture? Maybe... Maybe he saw their horrible ways and decided he didn't want to be that person. Maybe his experience of the negative made him determined not to become one of them. Or maybe it’s just a made up story intended to make us feel awful for his upbringing and therefore all the more proud of his successes as a character and hero.

Regardless, it occurred to me while I was showering this morning (where I do most of my in depth thinking, ha!) that Harry had an incredibly awful upbringing and still managed to become a hero – at such a young age. Sure, there are people in real life who have similar experiences and turn out really well rounded and kind…but it’s a mystery to me as to how they can be so loving when they've only known hate. Or perhaps those small moments of love (a nuzzle from a dog, a wave from a neighbour, a smile from a peer) become so much more to someone who hasn't known much love, then they do to those of us who are lucky enough to be well loved every day of our lives.I am very thankful for being blessed to be well loved every single day of my life. So, so thankful.

I don’t even know why I was thinking about Harry Potter (I swear, it’s not because I have a fictional crush on him. I reserve my fictional crushes for Edward…the real Edward, not the actor who played him). I haven’t seen any of the movies or read the books in a long time but for some reason it just popped into my head and I decided to dedicate my daily “shower of thoughtfulness” to pondering how he managed to come out of such a dreadful existence so unscathed. I know, what an excellent use of my time and brain power. Haha.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say. Happy Halloween folks! I hope you have some super fun costumes to wear, and a blast trick or treating tonight! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fundraising Parents

First off - thanks for your support over my #bitchblogmondays #microblogmonday post. Things are a little less crazy - my aunt is recovering from Sepsis (infection that spreads to the blood). I'm going to view a house tonight and another tomorrow it's improving.

Now, to my post: Fundraising Parents.

When I was a kid,  I was in Girl Guides. Every year, the guides sell cookies by going door to door or suckering your loved ones into buying them from you. You get prizes for how much money you raise, and it all goes towards your local troop to send you on field trips and activities. I can remember filling my friends wagon full of cookies, and us going door to door through our town trying to talk people into buying our cookies by offering a "free" dandelion with each purchase. Most people had a daughter or niece or someone they had already bought from, but who can turn down a free dandelion? So we often sold quite a few, and were rewarded for our hard work with a prize (free movie, or a cool toy). Our parents had nothing to do with our cookie sales, except to help us count our money and keep it in a safe place until we could deliver it to guides. And let me tell you, were we ever proud of ourselves for earning a cool toy because we sold so many cookies.

According to my wall, and the bulletin board at work, and my friends that have kids - the rules have changed for some kids. Now, it seems, it's the parents job to do the fundraising through lager media sources than door to door knocking and sell as many cookies in the highest quantity they can. I have mixed emotions about it. While it's great that they're raising lots of money to support this great cause - what are we teaching our kids?

The reason we sold the cookies when I was a kid was to learn about responsibility, doing our share, working hard to support something we love. Everyone has to contribute if we want to continue with we learned to do our share. We also learned about money, and about the value of a dollar because those cookies were $1.50 back then and it took an awful lot of boxes to earn enough to pay for a weekend camp rental or field trip for 18 girls.

I feel like parents selling the products for their kids are missing the point of the cookie sales. It's not about making the most money (well, it is about the money a bit because it is a fundraiser) it's about teaching the girls a life lesson that they will take with them. It's about letting them learn the value of a dollar, and about working hard for something. Letting them feel the pride that comes with doing something good all on your own. It's about working with their fellow guides to learn teamwork and initiative. It's about creativity (hello, "free" dandelions?) and personal accountability.

I know it's a small item in the big vast world of parenting, but I really wish sometimes that some parents would just leave some things alone. Selling cookies as a fundraiser is a great experience for kids, and I wish they would just let them be in charge of it. If they only sell 10 boxes, then they only sell 10 boxes. Fundraisers have been getting by on kid sales for decades without problems, and I think now is no different. They will continue to succeed if you let your kids sell their own cookies, just like they did when I was a kid, and when my mom was a kid. And your child will take away a valuable set of lessons from it that can't be taught - they have to be learned and experienced.