Mon 28 Feb, 2005 09:38 pm
Lately, Mormons have been giving Mo, who is four years old, dollars.
Like tonight - we went to the neighborhood pizza place and sat, as usual, at the community table. I was chatting with the grown ups, Mo was chatting with the kids. It became clear that the other families at the table were Mormon. As we were chatting, I offered up that I was Mo's guardian and blah blah blah just in the course of conversation about kids.
Later, one of the dads at the table gave Mo a dollar.
This is the second time that a Mormon person has given Mo a dollar in the last few months. The other time was at our Mormon neighbor's house where visiting grandpa was handing out dollars to all the neighborhood kids.
Now I must admit when a relative stranger hands Mo anything my instinct is to say "NO" quite firmly.
And it's not like we're hurting for dollars.
But both times I've felt like it would be very insulting to the person to deny their generosity and I'm really unsure how to handle the situation because taking money from strangers doesn't feel right either.
Is this some kind of Mormon "thing"? A goodwill gesture? A blessing of sorts? A test?
What is the proper ettiquite for the non-Mormon recipient of this gesture?
Please help knuckleheaded me know what to do in these situations!
Nobody is aware of any signifigance to this gesture?
I suppose I could ask my Mormon friend and neighbor but that just seems a bit awkward.
How about you parents out there giving me some advice on how you would handle this.
I would , the next time it happened, just ask the person what is the significance behind it? Say very honestly that this has happened before and to you it seems very neat but that you dont understand?
Im sure you can think of a more tactful way then I have suggested , to ask , but that would be a great way to get your question answered.
I have been watching this as well wondering the same thing? What does it mean?
I dont know that I would take offence.. but then again it hasnt happened to me. I would just want to know why it was only a dollar and not a 100 dollar bill.
( im KIDDING!!!) I would never say that!
You're right - there really isn't any harm in just asking.
Again, it just seems a little awkward.
I'm fairly well versed in Mormonism, but not this custom, if it is indeed a custom.
I was wondering if it is some kind of "pay it forward" type thing. If it was more than a dollar I would absolutely have to refuse the gift.
I'm uncomfortable letting Mo take anything from anybody but this seems very different than someone trying to win his affection or anything like that.
Oh, interesting! Lemme see if I can find my topic on this -- I think it was here not Abuzz, just a sec...
To continue commenting here rather than reviving that one, she may well have been Mormon, I dunno. There was definitely a "buying affections" vibe that I plain didn't like. There were many awkward interactions after that one -- she was always a little too -- forward? Too physical, too in sozlet's face. We knew everyone in the neighborhood pretty well, stopped and had conversations with lots of people often, accepted various little things like flowers and cookies offered to the kid (everyone, everywhere, wants to give her things, that's not at all unusual), it was specific to this person that something felt off.
So there might be two different issues, how you feel about that specific person offering that specific thing, and how you feel about accepting small tokens in general.
(What DID you do when the dollars were offered?)
it could be just a coincidence that the people giving the dollars are mormon? No real religious significance at all?
That's what I was wondering too, shewolfnm. (No idea.)
I didn't get that freaky vibe although I admit to some serious pinging.
In both situations I was like "No. No. That isn't necessary." Kind of like EG. In the first instance it was in my neighbor T's back yard and she rolled her eyes and waved away my objection knowing her father "wouldn't hear of it", her parents are known far and wide for their generosity. That time we were in a safe place with people we knew so I didn't make much of it.
Yesterday was a bit different. We had all been talking, the kids all talking and suddenly the dollar just kind of popped out of nowhere. I did the "no no not necessary thing" and they said something to the effect that they would really like to do this. I said thank you, Mo said thank you and I just let it drop.
I suppose it could be something other than a Mormon thing. Maybe I just made that connection because I know both families are Mormon.
Shewolf and soz, you both know that I have concerns with Mo and his stranger charming. Sometimes making a big deal out of such things just makes it worse and then leads to long explainations about why I don't want Mo crawling up on their laps, or taking their dollars, or whatever.
Letting it drop just seemed the best course of action but maybe its not.
I don't know!
I'm a Buddhist, and have been for forty years. On the other hand, my stepfather was LDS and that is the church we attended as children. When I left the church I was a priest, though that doesn't equate to being a priest in most other Abrahamic faiths. The older of my two sisters is still, at least nominally LDS.
So far as I know there is no LDS "thing" about giving children dollar bills. On the other hand, the church encourages thrift and generosity. We often were given small sums as children to teach us the value of money. The tithe is 10% of one's income, so a dime would go to the church and probably most of the remainder into some sort of savings. The history of the church is filled with trials and tribulations, so the idea that each of us should prepare for hard times is encouraged and pretty deeply engrained. Most of the folks we knew kept a year's supply of food and fundamental necessities on hand at all times. LDS women are famous for their preservation of canned goods. Writing that sentence brings to mind opening a jar of canned peaches and drinking the syrup during the early evening 55 years ago. Ah, memory.
The church is also big on children. LDS families tend to be large, and the children are an essential part of family life. Home life is one of the highest priorities and expectations of church members. Dinners are a family affair with everyone participating in preparation, serving, conversation, and cleanup. LDS children are from an early age given serious responsibilities. Young LDS boys are a part of the church services, and may begin consecrating the sacrament by their early teens. An elder and I made monthly visits to church members, especially the old, the sick, or those who seemed to need support and comfort. Often there was some church doctrine to pass along, but just as frequently the home visits were spent in pleasant conversation. It would be shameful if church members had to apply for public welfare/assistance, or were in need. We often delivered food and other necessities to those who were having difficulties.
So, while there is no "custom" that I know of about giving small sums to the children of strangers, I'm not surprised to hear that it is done. Though I'm Buddhist, my own charitable instincts may well have been fostered in the LDS church when I was growing up.
My advise is to teach the children not to accept gifts if you aren't present. When given a gift, the child should have the good manners to thank the person making the gift. I would teach the child that a portion of their good fortune should be shared with others, and encourage the child to donate to charities and the poor. Encourage saving and the responsible use of money. If you are curious about LDS doctrines and policies, don't be afraid to ask ... just be prepared to have your ear talked off. Devout church members tend to be zealous in their missionary work.
I haven't been a member of the LDS church in 55 years, yet they still carry me on their roles. No matter where we have lived over these long years, LDS representatives have sniffed us out. I'm often invited to attend local church services, and to participate in the lively LDS life-style. I suppose that I could stop all that nonsense, but rather enjoy talking to the folks who come around to talk with me. I only insist that if theytalk for 20 minutes about their religion, that they listen to my 20 minutes on Buddhism.
I know I know!
I've dealt with that with sozlet begging for food.
In Naperville, there was this labyrinth/ outdoor amphitheater sort of thing where kids would often gather to play, and families would have lunch. We'd go there a lot. Often in the course of playing with a kid whose family was there for lunch, food would be offered. The first couple of times it was like wince, smile, "you're sure that's OK?", oh of course reassurances, and maybe an exchange on our part. But then she just started marching up to people who were eating something she thought looked good and saying, "Can I have some?" Oy.
'Cause they'd always smile and give it to her, too.
So I had a bunch of talks with her about not asking for things, only accepting them if they're offered -- and if they're offered, ask me first.
Interesting, Asherman, thanks for the window.
Thank you, Asherman, for your insights into the LDS church.
Frankly, thinking there is a signifigance behind the gesture makes it much less alarming. I see how offering a dollar would fit well with Mormon ideals.
I tend to be very open minded towards all religions. I have friends who have had their whole church praying for me when I was facing a big hurdle. I've been given St. Jude holy cards and buckeyes and all kinds of charms.
Hmmm - I am sure it is kindly meant - but my instinct is just to say "no" firmly, and charmingly.
As you say, stranger charming ain't good - and what kid wouldn't charm for a dollar? Also, it comes, it seems, after Mo's situation is clarified - and getting money for being a "waif" is not my idea of the best approach to Mo's situation.
I can well see how it may be too hard to say no, though! And - if it hardly ever happens...well...
I have to admit that the "waif" thing crossed my mind last night too, dlowan. It really only came up because the conversation turned to pregnancies and child birth and well.... I had no input.
The fact that such a similar thing had happened out our neighbor's house - and they know we aren't needy and they know Mo is ours - if only in body and spirit and not in fact.
I certainly don't go about cultivating a poor, poor, pitiful Mo vibe. Believe me, if there is anything Mo is it's wanted. I think that's pretty obvious to everyone we meet.
As always, you've given me much to think about. Thank you!
That was very interesting, Asherman.
Sounds like sound advice, too!
My advise is to teach the children not to accept gifts if you aren't present. When given a gift, the child should have the good manners to thank the person making the gift. I would teach the child that a portion of their good fortune should be shared with others