Begging For Validation

07 May


I never answer my door – unless I know you’re coming. Someone can bang away all they’d like, if I wasn’t informed of your arrival, I’ll become selectively deaf to your hammering. If you really want me to open the door, just call my house, tell me your standing there waiting for me, and I’ll be ever so gracious.

Seems really rude, I know. But I have my reasons (whether you agree with them or not)
1) The only people knocking on my door who I’m not expecting are collectors
2) I don’t keep any cash in the house
3) I think it’s an easier let down to think no one is home, than to be told they have nothing for you

It’s not a big deal, really. Most collectors will knock once or twice and leave if there’s no response. The problem arises when the collectors are not bona-fide meshulachim, with shtars from the Vaad, but when they come in a more miniature and menacing form – children.

Kids are the worst. They knock – persistently. They don’t wait, pause, give you moment to walk across your kitchen to receive them; it’s just knock – knockknockknock – knockknock –knockknockknockknock. And they don’t leave if you don’t answer the door. They peer into windowshades and start knocking all over again. Also, they’re generally neighborhood children, so they know my car, and whether they saw me leave or enter my home recently. You’d think they’d pick up after 3 years that I don’t answer the door. But they are a dogged bunch.

You know what, even if I did keep cash in my house to pass out when benevolence strikes me, I wouldn’t give to children. And further, I don’t intend to allow my children to collect. It may be standard procedure in Lakewood, I just think it’s bad chinuch.

The position of a meshulach, to have to go door to door to procure necessary funds is degrading. It’s embarrassing, and is only undertaken in the most dire of circumstances. And so it should be. To just ask of another person, another person in which you have no regard for each other, is the epitome of taking – and if the most Godly behavior is giving, then taking in such a manner is its contrast, and thereby ungodly.

My question is, why are school, organizations and parents encouraging children to engage in such behavior. Yes, I suppose in many cases the causes are worthy, but do you want to teach your children to just ask a random stranger for money, to take away the human mortification of the deed, and further embed it into their sociological structure of acceptable behavior? There are other ways to encourage a child to fundraise for a worthy cause without them soliciting door to door.

And then there’s this story.

I was on the phone with my sister while it happened so I can attest to its veracity. Her 6 year old daughter came over to her and requested 11 dollars.

“Why do you need 11 dollars?” my sister asked suspiciously. “Is this for a school trip of project?”

“No,” her daughter replied simply, “It’s for Rochel.”

“Why do you have to give 11 dollars to Rochel?”

“She’s collecting for Organization Blank Blank”

My sister got a litter confused here,

“Why does she need 11 dollars specifically?” my sister asked, voice rising, getting slightly indignant, “I can give her whatever amount I see fit.”

“Well, she want the Gameboy prize, and she needs 11 dollars.” My niece answered plainly.

My sisters eyes popped (I’m assuming they popped, I didn’t see her, but I know her expressions)
“You can give her 25 cents –from your own money!”

And my niece, totally not following what happened, stated simply,

“But she needs 11 dollars.”

My sister then put her hand on her hip and wagged her index finger at her daughter (once again, just speculating here), and said sternly,

“I’m not giving tzedakah, so Rochel can get a prize. If she wants a Gameboy, let her parents buy for her, I’m not sponsoring it, especially not with my tzedakah money.”

I’m not sure if my niece understood the message, but she definitely grasped her mother’s tone of voice and dutifully walked away.

“Did you hear that?” My sister asked me, returning to our conversation. “The chutzpah!”

And I agree.


So, would you let your child go door to door collecting?


Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Parenting, Slice of Life


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Begging For Validation

  1. Jocie

    May 8, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Fantastic post!!!

    I don’t have any children, but I will have the same line of thought when I do. I think not only is it degrading, but it’s teaching kids – entitlement. In other words they deserve things with very little effort. And that is a horrible quality amongst present generations, so why encourage its continued existence for future generations?

    I’m really glad you voiced this because it’s great to know one is not always alone in their way of thinking.

  2. dassigirl

    May 8, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Funny, when I was a kid I was the “only one” who wasn’t allowed to collect….. Now I thank my mom for it LOL!!!

  3. Princess Lea

    May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Same here – no kids collecting! It drives me crazy when the kinfauna pounce on me every summer with swim-a-thons and such, saying “I can get this prize if I raise this amount of money!” and I reply, “Cookie, it would be a lot cheaper if I bought it for you.”

    It is a busha to collect, and to harass people, and children should learn how to be courteous to others, not to hold them hostage. And yeah, they don’t ever, ever, take the hint we aren’t opening the door. In general – try shooing away that ratty kid from down the block; one even tried peering through the mail slot.

  4. annon

    May 9, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I disagree. Collecting for others is not taking. It is giving of your time, energy and pride to help others in need.

  5. TooYoungToTeach

    May 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Annon: That is true of adults. But I don’t think children get that, for them it’s just about collecting, and they get a prize for doing it. And like you said yourself, people collecting for others are giving of their pride, which is very noble. Children don’t understand the concept of pride and self-respect yet, so they are not giving of themselves at all – to them, they are just receiving.

  6. annon

    May 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I hear you. But why is that different than them brushing teeth or going to bed nicely for a prize or a sticker on a chart? Isn’t the idea that they will learn good traits and as they grow up we hope they will continue to do so without the ‘bribe’?
    One thing I would say is kids need to be taught proper ‘collecting etiquette’. About how many times is reasonable to knock…

  7. TooYoungToTeach

    May 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    While brushing your teeth is a wonderful habit and those who don’t cultivate it just end up hurting themselves later – collecting is not something that I think needs to be taught when your young. There are some concept that you only appreciate when you’re older, and this is one of them. Young children exposed to certain concept too young very often misunderstand them and abuse later in life

  8. noam

    May 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Yep, I encourage my boys to collect. I shudder at the thought of allowing the same to my daughter.

    • TooYoungToTeach

      May 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Noam: What’s the difference if a boys collecting or girl? I think there’s a tznius issue for the girls – but I didn’t even go into that here. What’s your reasoning? And why do you think its appropriate for your child(ren) to be collecting?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: