02/23/04 — Jumping rope: Rules for charity event might need tweaking

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Jumping rope: Rules for charity event might need tweaking

Maybe you saw the story in the paper. The children who attend Eastern Wayne Middle School raised $11,000 for the American Heart Association.

They did it by jumping rope. In order to jump, a child had to raise money for the Heart Association.

These children and their parents should be proud of what they did. Not only did they join in the fight against a pervasive and deadly disease but they enjoyed physical exercise that was rigorous, rhythmic and fun. That, of course, is a good thing for healthy children.

This has been going on at Eastern Wayne and at other schools in Wayne County for a long time. Over the years, the Eastern Wayne children have raised $120,000 for the Heart Association.

Still, whether the annual event should continue as it is done now is questionable.

Some children are fortunate enough to live in an environment in which asking for money and getting it are easy. They are in contact with adults who can afford to give them a dollar or two and who take pride in their efforts for charity.

In some homes, parents give money just so the children won’t be embarrassed by having to sit on the sidelines during the rope-jumping.

Worse, some children cannot bring money because their families can’t afford to buy them out of the embarrassment.

It can be humiliating indeed for a child to be unable to participate with classmates for reasons involving money. In middle school, there is a powerful drive to keep up with one’s peers, and it is painful for a child to have to acknowledge that his family is either poor or disinterested.

Perhaps the rules could be adjusted so that wouldn’t happen — assuming our educators feel that having our children raise money for charities is a proper function of the schools.

Published in Editorials on February 23, 2004 12:03 PM