It all started one day when 宝贝 lamented that she’s taking forever to save up for something she wanted. Holding her head between her hands, she was poring over her daily accounts book to see where she could squeeze out more money.
“Well, if you can’t do away with the necessities and save more money, then you will have to make more money. Do you want to make money?”
“Ok. I need someone to distribute flyers. Do you want to do it?”
“You mean stand on the square and give out paper to the passerbys?”
“Yep. I will pay $2 per hour. So, do you want to do it?”
She nodded eagerly. She probably didn’t realise that it’s harder than it seemed. Having done road shows, exhibitions, flag donations, school building donations and even kart kiosks, I know how difficult it was, even for an adult.
“But I want you to do it with me! And Di Di too!”
“Ok fine! I will distribute flyers right beside you!” Walk the talk right?! No sweat. I have thick skin anyway. Di Di aka 小小宝贝 also agreed. Not knowing what he was in for.
So I grabbed some flyers for the tuition centre (Check out Master Class for English tuition for P5-JC2. No point wasting a chance to advertise! Don’t worry, I’m not the one teaching. We have fully qualified MOE teachers hailing from top schools holding the fort.). And we decided to give out flyers outside Parkway Centre, after her dance class.
The BIG Day arrived. Armed with a small stack of flyers, we stood around the basement, among other flyer distributors.
“You only gave me 5 flyers!” She flapped her sheets at me.
“I will give you more when you have used them up. Let’s just do it for 15 minutes first. How much would you have earned by then?”
Frowning in deep thought, “50 cents? Does Didi get that too?”
“Of course!” Meanwhile, Didi was loitering near the ice cream shop display, ignoring us.
“Hokay! Let’s start!”
I did a few demonstrations and received many rejections, as usual. When I finally succeeded in giving out my first flyer, I smiled triumphantly at 宝贝. She was standing behind me, holding her flyers, looking at me doubtfully.
“There will always be rejections. It’s just part of it. It’s ok. Just persist!” Giving her the YOU-CAN-DO-IT sign.
She spent the next 5 minutes drawing circles on the ground with her shoe.
“Eh, hurry up leh!”
“I’m thinking of how to do it!”
“Ok, let me demonstrate again!”
Then the slew of excuses came. “It’s drizzling! I don’t want to stand in the rain!” “That’s my friend! I don’t want to give this to her!” “They don’t want to take it!”
She finally worked up her courage and walked boldly towards a parent, but one foot away, she suddenly turned around and strode back.
“I’m too shy! And why is Di di not doing it! He’s just looking at the ice creams!”
Ok fine! I called 小小宝贝over. “Eh! Are you here to distribute flyers or look at ice creams? Do you want to buy things?” He nodded eagerly. “Do you have money?” He shook his head. “So how?”
The little one said, “I must give out flyers to the uncles and aunties.”
“Ok Good! Tell you what, for every flyer you give out I give you 10 cents! Ok???”
“Yay!” Sigh… Expensive wages..
He looked at me wondering what to do next. Sigh. He was oogling at ice creams when I was doing my demonstrations. So, I gave out a few flyers to show him what to do. I pointed him to the parents sitting around the cafes and Macdonalds.
Without a word, he trotted up to a parent who was messaging on his phone, stood beside him and stared at him with his big round eyes, carrying his cute Eeyore bag and handed out a flyer to him. And… the scumbag waved him away!! Couldn’t he see that a little 4 year old was mustering up his courage to do that?!
Surprisingly, he wasn’t daunted. He walked up to another parent and handed the flyer to him. (Somehow he preferred to give out to Daddies). The daddy smiled and took it from him and patted his head.
He turned to me and gave me the brightest smile ever and hopped in glee. Then he went on to give out another one. The daddy walked past him (he was too small) and didn’t see him, then suddenly realised that the little kid was trying to give him something. He turned back and took the flyer from 小小宝贝.
Meanwhile, 宝贝 also tried to give out her flyers after watching her brother do it. Only to be waved away as though she was a pesky fly. (These parents will get their just desserts!!! Will it kill just to take a piece of paper from a child?!)
Then the hub’s call came. OK. Time to leave.
And so, 小小宝贝 made 20 cents.
Everyone agreed to do it again the next week. 宝贝decided that she would give out at least 1 flyer the next time. 小小宝贝 was looking forward to it as he had first tasted the joy of making money!
Some friends widened their eyes and exclaimed, “Waa! Zun Bo!?” Well, it’s a way to teach them the value of money, that it’s not easy to make money and to only spend the hard-earned money on things that they need. It’s also a way to build up courage and approach people. I find that our children are too soft and too dependent on us, parents, to do everything for them. We need to let them do things on their own, do the tough things, albeit in a safe environment. And definitely, facing up to rejections. It’s not easy to take rejections, but I always believe that, with every rejection, we will just emerge stronger and build thicker skins!
Taking the first step is always the hardest. But once, the step is taken, the rest will follow. For 宝贝， if her 4 year old brother can do it, there shouldn’t be a reason why she can’t do it as well.
So if you happen to be around Parkway Parade on Saturday morning, do come over and say hi to us and give some words of encouragement to the 宝贝s!
If you want your children receive free flyer distribution lesson, you are welcome too! But you pay them their wages ok!!