I am a competitive person but believe there are limits to how you win a competition. Something parents do during their children’s competitions really bothers me and I refuse to participate.

When you think of obnoxious parents who are too involved in their children’s competition, athletics first come to mind, but that is not what I’m talking about. I’m more concerned about the parents who sell items for their children during school or organization fundraisers.

The biggest offense usually takes place during Girl Scout cookie sales. A parent will bring the form into the office, place it in the break room, and pick up the fully filled-out form before they leave for the day. What’s the problem with that, you ask? I think that Girl Scout should show up to the office and talk to their parent’s colleagues about what they are doing.

The purpose of such an effort is not just about money for these beneficiaries. It’s also about getting the child involved in sales, going outside their comfort zone, seeing the real reward for the effort that is put in. When a parent takes over then it defeats all of this and does nothing but coddle the kid. Don’t we already criticize coddling by parents in other areas from younger generations anyway? Those who criticize are likely the biggest offenders.

I recently received an email from a colleague that encouraged people to click a link where his son was selling popcorn for a club. Not only was this not a physical form, it was a means by which it would have been easier for his son to participate in selling his own product. Why didn’t he make the effort for his son to open the email and explain why he was selling the product and who would benefit? Here was an opportunity for the child to learn how to write a pitch and express concisely what the purpose was. However, the parent simply decided to send a quick email that oozed of the assumption that I would buy the product. I deleted it immediately.

I’m not completely out of touch because, yes, it sucks to really have to sell these things as a kid. I participated in such events and loathed every experience.

I hocked fruit for my junior high school band and can still remember delivering these Springtime treats in the snow. There were those off-brand candy bars for my school that no one wanted and I ended up eating myself, committing quite a blow to my parent’s pocketbook. In the 6th grade I hand-made paper flowers and would have won that (again I stress again door-to-door) competition except for Tracy Tyler’s better efforts. Then there was my high school sorority’s donut sale, yes we had high school sororities. Those donuts served as the air freshener for my car because they didn’t up in anyone else’s house and I let them sit for days out of guilt before tossing them in the garbage.

What I can tell you about my experience is that my parents never sold these items for me and my ass was on the neighborhood streets going to my neighbor’s houses to try and get rid of the god-forsaken stuff. Inconvenience and discomfort are not an excuse to let your kids be free of the assignment. If you want your kid to win, then teach them to win or leave me alone.

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