Author’s note:  Whether you want to create your own personal history or would like Kathy Kidd to do it for you, Kathy’s blog has what you’re looking for.  Go to www.planetkathy.com and click on “Writing a Personal History” to get more information.

We have a new topic this week, and the subject is fundraisers where people beg for money instead of working on it.  But before we get to that, we have three last letters about begging of a different sort — in the form of baby and wedding showers.  Let’s see what the readers have to say:

I saw your article on baby showers. I did not comment because I have to pare down gift-giving strictly to family and then it is difficult due to fixed income.

However, I wanted to state that I think e-vites are great. There are a couple of reasons for that. Again, money for me is an issue being an unemployed widow, and it is for my struggling young nieces as well, so an e-vite is an effective way to reach me and to reply. Also, one of the nice features about the e-vite is the “reminder” factor. You get a follow-up reminder as to date, place and time. At least that has been my experience, and that is a great thing.

Also, I have so many grand-nieces and grand-nephews by now, that a check in a nice card for missionary fund is not only practical for me but is well appreciated. In truth, one of my grand-nephews whose first birthday was recently celebrated got at least several checks and downright cash all for a future mission. I found that amusing.  We want to see the future generations serving missions!

The showers I have attended were sizable and that was local family and family friends, not general church membership or Relief Society! That is the way it should be. I am showered out and cannot keep up with the burgeoning younger generation in the ward and am struggling to keep up with family. There are just too many. Oh, and I did not mention that my own daughters and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (all in Western states) make up another sizeable group of people, so I truly have to limit myself to family exclusively.

As to the issue of where the bride is registered, I have given some quite tasteful gifts over the years that were, in fact, unique. Seldom have I received the obligatory thank you. I have stopped the practice.

Tapped Out

You bring up a whole new wrinkle of this subject, Tapped, when you mention that you stopped sending presents when you stopped receiving thank you notes.  I’ve stopped giving gifts to some of my nieces for the same reason.  Parents, if you don’t have a rule in place that your young children can’t use a gift until a thank you note is sent, it’s not to late to put that rule in place — and to enforce it.

Our last two letters concern showers for out-of-wedlock mothers.  We have two differing opinions on the subject.  Here they are:

I gave a shower for an out-of-wedlock girl as a YW leader many years ago.  The bishop had no problem with it.  We were not “celebrating” her situation. We were giving her things that she needed.  Those in her situation have an uphill battle as it is.  Why make it worse? 

The stake YW leader also came.  Is there something in the handbook that says if a girl does not give up her baby for adoption, then we don’t give showers?  Maybe shower is the wrong word!

Not Self-Righteous

I understand your wanting to be compassionate, Not.  In your case a shower was fine because you checked with the bishop and he “didn’t have any problem with it.”  I think the point the reader made last week was that the bishop in her ward had specifically asked that a shower not be given in that particular case, and that a big shower was given anyway.

There are ways to be compassionate without giving a shower.  A gift is just as much appreciated if it is given privately as it would be if it were given amidst all the hoopla of a shower.

Showers are always a problem for me, mostly because I really dislike the games.  The one time I gave a shower we just enjoyed each other’s company and the refreshments.

Lately there have been a few showers that I find disturbing.  It will be announced in Relief Society that a member of the Relief Society presidency is giving a baby shower for someone I’ve never heard of.  When I ask who the person is it is always either the nonmember daughter of a never-active member or the inactive daughter of a never-active member, and I’m always cautioned not to ask about the father as the young woman doesn’t intend to marry him.

The shower is always presented as support for the new grandmother-to-be who cares so little for the sisters in the Relief Society that only a few have even met her!  It is also represented as missionary work!

This is not good missionary work.  We never see the grandmother or mother or child.  I have very finite resources so I never attend, but a few sisters are guilted into participating.  I just do not believe that this is in the best interest of anyone and I am too old to feel it appropriate to support a young woman who chooses this path in life.  Yes, I know many feel that we should be supportive of the child who is being born into a bad situation, but since the ward never sees this child it seems to be more of a goodie grab on the part of the grandmother and mother. 

Staying Home

I agree with you, Staying, that performing acts of service (whether they be moving household items or giving showers) for someone who never darkens the door of the meetinghouse is hardly ever going to inspire that person to become active in (or to join) the Church.  We all know of exceptions, but they are extremely rare.

I know your Relief Society presidency is well-intentioned, but guilting people into attending showers for strangers is something I’d avoid too.  If it walks like a goodie grab and quacks like a goodie grab, it is probably a goodie grab.

Okay, readers, now for today’s topic.  Let’s see what JD, our dismayed reader, has to say:

I often go to our local Wal-mart and find a group of youth at the entrance holding up a sign saying “Fundraiser for Eagle Scout Project” or “Fundraiser for team uniforms” or “Fundraiser for team road trip,” or similar stuff.  I have to say that this really irks me.  I think that able youth should fundraise by working for it rather than by begging for it.  And yes, I do see this practice as common begging or panhandling.

Since we live in a predominantly LDS community, chances are fairly high that these are mostly LDS youth.  What are we teaching our youth when we allow them to beg for money from total strangers instead of working for it?  Are we raising kids to believe they do not have to work for what they want?  Are we raising them to believe that someone else will always pay their expenses?

These youth would be at least 12, and many would be as old as 17 years old.


  They are totally capable of washing cars, mowing lawns, or doing other useful neighborhood projects.  I would be glad to donate to their projects even if they did community service for a few hours such as picking up trash along the sides of country roads.

 

Thanks for letting me vent.

JD   

I feel your pain, JD.  In our non-LDS area, it’s the adults who do the begging.  They do it on street corners where the lights take a long time to change, and they always have a worthy cause.  The one that irks me the most is the appeal where the signs say, “Please give money to such-and-such church.”  I always want to roll down the window and say, “Hello!  Have you people ever heard of tithing?”

Readers, what do you think?  Is begging an acceptable way of earning an Eagle, or raising money for a school organization, or is it just a form of entitlement that will corrupt our youth?  JD and I want to know!

Send your comments to [email protected]Please do not use the form on this page because your comments are likely to get lost.  Go directly to your email and send an email instead.  That way I’ll be sure to hear from you.

And if you’re looking for something to do on a lazy morning or afternoon, come visit me at www.PlanetKathy.com.  I’d love to “see” you.

Until next week — Kathy

“Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more.”

Neil Peart

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