Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Sponsor Child Debacle

My 6 year old, Leif, says some pretty outrageous things sometimes.  This is not a case of “kids say the darndest things” where snot-nosed kids with missing teeth and too much hair gel tell Mr. Cosby one-liners that their parents made up for them.  This is a case of Leif knowing what gears to grind and which side of the fence to be on at any given moment.  This is coupled with the fact that I only find it amusing about 10% of the time: when he is directing his wit and wisdom toward someone else.  Sometimes his coloured commentary is just talk; sometimes, though...sometimes I have no choice but to take action on his words.  This is exactly why I am (grudgingly) the “proud” sponsor parent of a needy child on the other side of the world.

About 3 months ago, in June this year, I was furiously whipping up a gourmet meal of sodium-laden, definitely not organic or free range frozen chicken fingers and French fries, when the doorbell rang.  For those of you who may not have a home I will explain something to you: when you are not expecting anyone and the doorbell rings at supper time it’s probably someone you don’t want to see selling something you don’t want to buy.  Which is why I answered the door (I have a problem with door to door salespeople: I can’t say no.  I honestly almost converted our family to Mormonism once because I couldn’t say no to the missionaries. At the time, I thought it might be easier than telling them to go away).  The doorbell is a trigger for Leif, signalling another opportunity to entertain a completely new and unsuspecting audience.  We were racing to the door, and lo and behold a friendly young man holding a clipboard was standing in front of us.
“Hello ma’am, I’m a volunteer with (insert sponsor-a-child charity here), and I’d like to offer you the opportunity to sponsor a needy child in another part of the world”.  First mistake, buddy: do not ever call a 25 year old “ma’am”. 
“It is less than a dollar a day, and you will dramatically change the life of a child and their family” (This by the way is a lie- it actually costs $35.00 a month- you do the math)
“Well...” Okay, get some balls, girl, and tell this guy no. “We already have our charities picked out for the year, and I really don’t think we can fit in another one...” Nice- makes you sound socially conscious while saying no. Good answer.  Instead of leaving though, friendly volunteer pipes up again.
“It really is an affordable way to help a family. Remember ma’am, you are spending less than the cost of a coffee a day and making such a difference.” (Strike two for “ma’am”).
“Nooooo... really, no.  But thank you.” I start to move towards the door and friendly volunteer starts to back away.  I am almost out of the woods here.
Cue Leif:
“Mom, you drink Tim Horton’s coffee EVERY DAY.  You can afford a dollar a day for a child’s well being.”
Needless to say, friendly volunteer saw his opening and like a vulture to a carcass was shoving that clipboard back in my direction, all the while laughing his Good Samaritan ass off.  As he’s doing this I look at Leif and inform him that if he does not go downstairs he will regret it for the rest of his life.  Still smiling, relatively smugly if I might add, friendly volunteer gets back to business.
“What country would you like to pick?  Do you have a gender or age you prefer?”
“Does it really matter at this point?” I defeatedly reply as I hand him my credit card.
Cue smoke alarm signalling my (now) burnt chicken fingers.  I wonder at this point if this may be a metaphor for my life.
Because I didn't pick a child, he gave me one he said he was having a hard time getting rid of, and I'm not going to lie - I did chuckle when I read her information card for the first time.  This well known Christian charity is sending our sponsorship money to a little Palestinian girl in the West Bank. 
Welcome to the family Aseel Ahmad Mustafa.  Since you are so well fed and no longer have to spend your days collecting water, I am expecting my letter any day now.
 As for Leif, no good deed goes unpunished.

Note to Kindergarten Teacher Re: Show and Tell
Dear Mrs. C,
I understand that it is Leif’s show and tell today.  We have recently had a slight economic downturn in our house due to an unexpected monthly bill.  Consequently, Leif will be bringing the same thing to show and tell for the rest of the year, as he likely won't have any new toys to bring.
I hope you enjoy his presentation on our family’s new sponsor child.
Colleen Copley


  1. this story was just as funny the second time around...keep em coming Colleen!

  2. this was the funniest story ever! Especially the part about almost being converted to Mormonism. lol

  3. Thanks so much for your comments! Shameless Plug: Let your friends know how incredibly witty I am :)

  4. lol. no harm in making the plug when you have the goods to back it up. Fyi, I made a call out on my facebook. I really think you are a fantastic writer Colleen. I am not surprised at seeing a product of Colleen and Royce with so many hilarious stories. keep telling them ;)