Monday, December 15, 2008

Out of Hand

So, I did decide to send Abby to a private school for Kindergarten, after all. I paid the (what I consider) big bucks, and paid the fee for books and the fee for school supplies and bought the uniforms, etc.

Guess what? I'm not done shelling out cash to this school. Abby has at least two types of fundraisers a month - and what parent wants their kid to be the only one in the class that doesn't have any funds raised?? She has had school pictures that cost a small fortune, she has had class parties that I have to "donate supplies" to. A letter was sent home last week requesting paper towels, on top of the treasure chest prizes I donated and the wrapped candy I also donated.

This certainly isn't the first time I've complained about this, and I doubt it will be the last. But really, why do we pay tuition and then have to pay, pay, and pay again? I'm sure this would be the same for public schools, right? Except you don't have to pay for the actual schooling part. Oh well. This was my choice, to send her to a private school. I'd better quit complaining.

But guess what? It turns out that just having kids cost money! I know, right? Well, it's Christmas time here (and probably elsewhere), and of course I'm buying presents for the kids. It seems that when kids get to age 5 or so, they start to realize that their friends have things that they do not have. And what do you think they do? They ask for those same things, of course! Or if that doesn't work, then they beg or cry or throw a tantrum. It really depends on the kid.

Since I really am not into buying everything my kids ask for (unless I find a good enough bargain!), I'm now thinking about how to get them to understand this. I guess there are many different ways to go about this. Some parents just drive all over town and spend excessive amounts of money to get everything on their kid's Christmas list. Other parents try to compensate for the amount of presents with fewer but better quality or more meaningful gifts. Some parents do the three wisemen type gifts - one material/expensive, one spiritual, and one for the body.

I've also heard stories where the parents go ahead and buy what the kids want, but first they have the kids go through their rooms and fill a big box with old toys to donate to needy children. This is a good idea, but what happens when they start to fill up the box with toys that you stood in line for an hour to get, got up at 5 am on Black Friday to find, or paid a fortune for? What if the toy just has some sort of sentimental value to you, but not to your kid? Then how do you teach them give to others before they receive from you?

Sometimes it can be really hard to part with material possessions, money, or time. But we all make these sacrifices for our kids anyway, don't we? The question is, do we teach them that this is the most important part of Christmas, or do we send out other Christmas vibes to our kids?

After all, can you imagine a 5 year old Jesus begging his mom for more frankincense for Christmas? **

**Yes, I know Christmas was not celebrated then...**


Jill said...

We do a purge before Christmas, getting rid of the toys they no longer play with. We freecycle them. Then there is room, both physically and mentally, for the new things. Our kids get overwhelmed when there is too much, so then they play with nothing. We got a kitten in July, we will not freecycle her.... she is their best toy!

Sara M. said...

I tried this out yesterday, and was completely surprised to find out that Abby was ready to give away some old toys. So, I'm going to get a big box and let the kids fill it up to donate. I guess I'll be busy cleaning the toys up after the kids fill the box.

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