On assistance, supernatural and otherwise

This post is mostly existential horror of some kind or another so here is a kitten.

I have a student in the hospital; it turns out that Covid-19 and sickle cell anemia are not, in fact, two great tastes that go great together. Those first seven words of the post are, at the moment, the sum total of my knowledge and I don’t know what kind of shape she’s in, beyond “bad enough that she’s in the hospital.”

I have never really believed that prayer or well-wishes or positive thoughts or anything like that actually held any power to change and/or fix anything, particularly in the lives of third parties, but if anybody has any spoons left to toss in the direction of a fourteen-year-old they’ve never met, I’m willing to be proven wrong.


You might remember Hosea, who I talked about a week or so ago. That post is rather down on Hosea as a human being, and while I didn’t write anything in there that I disagree with, one of the interesting things about the kid is that he’s also got a generous streak that, on the occasions when he allows it to surface, is a mile wide. The problem is that it doesn’t come out very often.

He stopped me at lunch today to ask me if I knew about the Gofundme he’d started. Oh God, I thought, because generally when someone starts a Gofundme it’s not because something wonderful has happened, and I have no idea why this kid might think that he needs money badly enough that he’s crowdfunding for it on the Internet. So I ask him what it’s for, and he tells me it’s “to improve the world,” and doesn’t really elaborate. It’s on Facebook, he says. I tell him I don’t have a Facebook account, but if he wants he can email me the URL and I’ll take a look at it.

And he does. And I do.

And this Gofundme starts off with this YouTube video, which I was able to watch until the point where the teacher tells her class “I’m going to step out for a minute” and just bounces, and then there’s his little spiel for his funding, which is literally that he wants to “make the world better.”

He wants ten thousand dollars.

There’s not, like, a plan or anything. Just, like, hey, “if you want to make the world a better place donate now!!” and yes, that’s a direct quote.

I, uh, don’t know what to do with this. He wants me to donate, of course, and I don’t want to be perceived as being against improving the world– I am, in fact, staunchly pro-improvement in all its facets– but, like, I’m not just going to hand this kid some money, am I? I mean, I could make a token contribution, I suppose, like, $5 or something like that; I don’t know if Gofundme works like Kickstarter does, where if you don’t hit your funding target you don’t get any of the money. And it’s not like the kid has any chance of hitting $10,000 short of some sort of bolt-from-the-blue viral explosion scenario. Plus, like, I don’t think 8th graders can even use Gofundme. That’s gotta be some sort of TOS violation, right?

Do I do anything else about it, though? Should I tell his mom or something? I mean, it’s not like it’s wrong for him to be trying to raise money to make the world a better place, and while it’s not necessarily any of my Goddamned business one way or the other, I feel like if my kid was trying to raise ten thousand bucks on the Internet even as a foolish and naïve expression of hope for the future, if some other adult I knew found out about it and didn’t let me know about it I might be a trifle peeved. I feel like if my kid is trying to get that kind of money from strangers, maybe as a parent that should be something I know about. But what if she knows? How the hell does that conversation go?

(For the record, this is also a bit of a Problem Parent, which complicates things. I don’t want the kid in trouble. I can imagine a world where this causes that.)

The best solution is probably to sit down with him for a few minutes and give him a better idea of what this site is actually for, and the idea that when you raise money you generally do it for something specific, possibly followed up with a promise to donate if he decides to do a fundraiser for the humane society or whatever rather than this nebulous “make the world better” thing.

(Thinking about this a bit more, how the hell do they give you the money if a Gofundme is successfully funded? This kid’s fourteen; surely he can’t have hooked up a bank account to the site or something. That’s the other “maybe notify Mom” detail; let’s say that hypothetically Hosea snookers four or five adults into donating money, and now he’s got $75 or whatever that Mom didn’t give him and when she asks he says the money is from his teachers? Christ.)

Advice or suggestions are welcome, obviously.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

One thought on “On assistance, supernatural and otherwise

  1. “I’m afraid I can’t donate to your Gofundme. Even if the school system DIDN’T frown on it, it could look like I’m playing favorites with my students, which is something I can’t let happen as a teacher. I hope you understand.”

    It doesn’t really matter if the school frowns on it or not, but it lends an aspect of higher authority. If you DO want to hand him a little cash, hand him CASH, preferably somewhere other kids can’t see you.

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