My oldest is running for the proud title of Ada's F&M Princess.To those who don't know what that is, it is the Farmers & Merchant Festival that has been held in our little town for the last 103 years. It is about tradition and supporting the park. Every summer, local kids compete by selling raffle tickets to raise money that will be used to upgrade something at the park. The prizes are pretty impressive, with local businesses donating hundreds of dollars in support.

Don't worry, I'm not trying to get you to buy tickets from the time you are reading this, she will have turned them in. The waiting game has officially begun. Part of the program's success is that kids don't know how much each other has sold. To win, all you can do is sell as much as you can and hope it is enough. This year is my daughter's third year running for princess. To say that she really really wants to win is an understatement.

I won't lie ... I really really want her to win, too. She has worked hard ... spent hours walking door to door and calling friends and family. As much as I wanted to do the work for her ... or better yet take out a loan and buy her a truck load of tickets, we believe that things like this are pointless if kids don't do the work themselves. While she has a big heart and positive personality, she isn't exactly a fan of public speaking, but over the last few weeks she has pushed through the butterflies and found her voice. On the last day of ticket sales, we spent over three hours knocking on doors and selling tickets. As our car was finally within sight, I thought to myself ... why did I agree to do this? I am exhausted!

Just as I was about to start complaining, my daughter looked up at me and said thanks mom this was awesome. As is often the case, my 8 year old seems to have life more figured out than I do. This whole thing isn't about selling the most tickets or getting the princess crown ... it is about helping kids give back to their community. Yes it's a lot of work for mom and dad, but it is also a great opportunity to spend time with your kids. Between houses we talked about school, friends and life ... it was tiring but at the same time refreshing. Next time you are faced with an exhausting fundraiser, don't pressure your coworkers to buy and don't write a check for 50 tubs of cookie dough ... encourage your kids to do the work. They will learn lessons in communication and how to respond when someone says no, but more importantly they will know the feeling of doing something themselves instead of knowing how many frozen pizza kits fit into your freezer!