Close your eyes and picture this…
It’s 7 AM. Your sipping freshly brewed coffee wiith your wife from a private balcony overlooking beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee outlined by the White Mountain ranges.
You tell yourself that it can’t get any better than this.
But then she says, “Honey, would you be too disappointed if I spent the day shopping at the Tanger Outlets? I have free $125 shopping spree Steele Hill Resort gave us…”
You’re thinking it could be a trick, but you decide to play along just in case.
“That would be good for you. You deserve it! I’m sure I can find something to do.”
For some reason the way it comes out your response sounds more like a question, as visions of golfing, ziplinning, and local craft beers dance around in your head.
“OK then,” she says, “I’ll see you this evening at The Oasis poolside bar for a drink, and we can plan a romantic evening together.”
The National Youth Leadership Forum is a program for the brightest and most highly motivated students who were singled out by their teachers for nomination. Josiah had placed among the top students in the United States for mathematics. He had worked hard to get this opportunity.
We were so proud and took him out for a special celebration dinner that evening.
It wasn’t until the next day that we read through all of the information and discovered that he would be responsible for the cost of the program which was $2000. We didn’t have $2000.
The thought of having to tell my boy that he couldn’t go made me nauseous.
My heart felt like it was going to shrivel up inside of my chest. We had just recently moved across the country, and money was tight.
The truth is he handled the news much better than I did.
“It’s ok Daddy.” He said. Then he thought for a moment and turned to me and said, “Remember how I went door to door back in Indiana to sell popcorn for the Cub Scouts? We sold lots of popcorn. Maybe I could do the same thing for this. Maybe I could go door to door and ask people for money?”
I explained how this was different. People are more likely to support the Cub Scouts. I explained how this was personal, and also how we just moved to this state, and didn’t know anyone.
Even so he wanted to try, and so he asked if I could help him with what to say.
I reluctantly agreed. I didn’t want to get his hopes up because I just didn’t think this would work. You see, I’ve had children come to the door before asking for money for band camp, cheerleader camp, and even the national youth leadership forum. And to be honest, I have not always given and when I did, it was maybe a dollar or two. It was always the same.
They would knock on the door and while staring down at scribbles on a scrap piece of paper, begin reading in a robotic tone something like,
“Hi, I’m raising money so I can go to band camp. Would you like to donate?”
“Uh, no thanks”
I really thought he had a better chance at mailing letters to friends and family. But this was what he wanted to do, and so we decided to hit the streets on the following Saturday.
We all want our kids to succeed. But even more so, we want to protect them from the disappointment of failure.
It felt like the world was on my shoulders as I spent the next 3 days racking my brain for a script that would give him at least a chance to raise some money.