Being asked for donations to school groups has been a part of being in business ever since there have been public schools. Lately, however, I’ve noticed that the requests for donations aren’t coming from teens, but from their teachers on their behalf.
I’m sure the teachers mean well. They probably think Josh and Caitlin are too busy with band and sports and their college applications to get out and ask for donations themselves.
I wonder, however, if those good intentions are good for adolescent development.
Do Josh and Caitlin learn how to set priorities and manage their time when the teacher seeks donations on their behalf because they too busy?
Do Josh and Caitlin learn how to advocate for themselves when the teacher makes all the sales calls for them?
Do Josh and Caitlin learn the essential sales and life skill of seeing the world from someone else’s point of view when the teacher runs student activities?
Do Josh and Caitlin develop effective oral communication skills if the teacher does their talking for them?
Or does the teacher unwittingly undermine students’ growth into independent, autonomous, self-directed adults?
Perhaps if we wanted to donate to adolescent development, we would insist students solicit their own donations. Better yet, let them figure out how to earn the money they need. There’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned car wash.
Photo credit: “Boy washing car” uploaded by tlloyd http://www.sxc.hu/photo/471638