Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Meanwhile, Over At Raizy's Place...

... my beautful niece got married last night. A few months back, some readers helped me to pick out a set of cookbooks as an engagement present for her. For a wedding present, I decided to send her and her husband a beautiful Birkat Habayit painting that I saw in a local Judaica shop. (For those who are unfamiliar with the Birkat Habayit, it is a blessing for peace and happiness in one's home: "Let no sadness come through this gate. Let no trouble come to this dwelling. Let no fear come through this door. Let no conflict be in this place. Let this home be filled with joy and peace.")

... Supermangirl starts school tomorrow, and the other two start on Thursday. It's been a long and leisurely summer for them, and I think the transition back to school might be a bit of a shock.

... Flash's high school is taking the students on a Shabbaton at the end of September. The cost per student for one weekend is (are you ready?) $320. For one weekend. For a 14 year old. Who will be sharing the hotel room with three other boys. Well now, that's a perfectly reasonable expense, wouldn't you agree?!? Do you know how many hours I have to work to make $320?!? (I'm getting very agitated over here.) The problem is, I didn't let him go to last year's Shabbaton because it was too expensive, and he was truly one of the only boys in his grade who didn't go. He felt very left out, and he wants to go this year. He's a good kid, he rarely asks me to buy him anything, and I decided that I will splurge for this. But I wish that these trips would be planned with a bit more sensitivity for the have-nots.

26 comments:

Child Ish Behavior said...

Don't.

As a kid at heart and a kid in real life I know.

For the last few years my (post Hs btw)yeshiva has had these things, and they are amazing fun.

Still its the luck of the draw and some people hate the experience. There are much better things to spend your money on that will make the kid doublly happy.

1. New suit
2. MP3 player (if he likes music)
3.new game system
4. a small shas (if he is into learning)
5. tons of other books
6. the list goes on

For that much money you could do a lot.

Saying all that, I still went to every one of them.

(btw if you do let him go you can probably work out some sort of deal.)

SuperRaizy said...

child ish-
I understand what you're saying, but he didn't ask for a new suit or an MP3 player. He asked to go on the shabbaton with his friends. I'd rather spend the money on a fun experience for him that he will always remember rather than on some toy that he'll forget about.
But I like your idea about "working out a deal". I think I'll ask the school if I could break up the amount into payments. They're very nice there, I'm sure they'll agree.

Child Ish Behavior said...

A deal means paying less.

Also let me tell you, I remember none of the individual trips. The only thing I do remember is my mother telling me not to go horse back riding.

It bothered me at the time and I was in 5th grade. But looking back on it now, they more than made up for it.(Dont tell them i said that)

Still how about a gold watch that he can brag about to his friends after they all get back from their trip, he will have something truly lasting.

frumskeptic said...

I was always going on trips.

6th grade 2 night 3 day trip to boston $200.

7th grade 4 day 3 night trip to washington DC $300

8th grade 4 night 5 day trip to florida- $600.

Plus there were other trips and school expenses.

Honestly, i had TONZ of fun. But I can't realy remember anything on teh individual trips aside from in Florida I went on my first upside down rollar coaster.

Aside from that...

I think you should work the deal out with your kid. Have him agree to do chores or s/t around the house as a pay back. Don't just say no cuz in the end he won't remember it. I think that would be the best.

mother in israel said...

And I was complaining because my 14yo asked for NIS 50 for a camping trip with school, where the girls prepare everything themselves. It's unusual for her school not to have all expenses calculated in advance.

ilanadavita said...

In our schol, when we have trips, those kids that can't pay everything pay less (the school dishes out the rest) so that nobody loses out.
We ask 350€ to take them to Sweden for ten days and that includes air fare!
Hope you manage to please him. Good luck.

orieyenta said...

Be glad that you aren't required to chaperone and have to pay the $320 as well. I had to accompany my little one on a trip to St. Augustine for 2-1/2 days at a thrifty price tag of $900. To add insult to injury spending all that time on a bus with 15 screaming 9 year olds was no picnic. I agree with you about the need for more sensitivity for the "have-nots" - there were several kids from LO's class that couldn't afford to go - it was sad actually. Maybe some fundraising or tzedakah is in order?

Lion of Zion said...

i went on "freshman seminar" in 9th grade, which cost a few hundred dollars (don't remember how much any more). after that i never went on another school trip. not sophomore seminar, ski trips, broadway shows, basketball games, senior trip, etc.

i knew my parents couldn't afford it and i didn't want to spend my own $ (from leining and summer work) on the trips.

i don't remember being bitter about it at the time, and if i was . . . well i don't remember it so i guess i managed to get over it.

"New suit"

please don't offer him this instead of the trip. he will just laugh at you and make you feel even worse.

ILANA:

"those kids that can't pay everything pay less (the school dishes out the rest) so that nobody loses out."

money doesn't grow on trees and in tne end it's not the school that dishes out the rest, but rather the other parents.

Lion of Zion said...

actually i did go to DC with my school once or twice for aipac's annual conferences, but i think that was heavily subsidized

Lion of Zion said...

"But I wish that these trips would be planned with a bit more sensitivity for the have-nots."

if there are a sizable number of families that have no problem paying for these things, that is who the school is going to cater to.

ilanadavita said...

money doesn't grow on trees and in the end it's not the school that dishes out the rest, but rather the other parents.
Yes and no. The school gets money from the region for trips and can use it as they see fit after the parents' request has been examined by the school social worker. So it's the tax-payer that dishes out the rest, including myself.
I don't mind as long as it remains within reasonable limits; which it does. There are lots of other things that are much more a waste of tax-payers' money than school trips.

ilanadavita said...

money doesn't grow on trees and in the end it's not the school that dishes out the rest, but rather the other parents.
Yes and no. The school gets money from the region for trips and can use it as they see fit after the parents' request has been examined by the school social worker. So it's the tax-payer that dishes out the rest, including myself.
I don't mind as long as it remains within reasonable limits; which it does. There are lots of other things that are much more a waste of tax-payers' money than school trips.

The Babysitter said...

Mazel Tov on Your nieces wedding!

It's a matter of taste of what makes a child happy. I would say he will cherish the memories of going on this trip. Although it does sound very expensive I would say its worth it. Especially if this is one of the only things he asks for, and he truly wants it.

If he has a camera he will be able to take pictures and create everlasting memories. You will be able to see the pictures and they will have you assured that he had a good time and it was worth the money.

I remember every single trip I went on, and all the details.

I still remember in 7th grade we went to Philadelphia, originally I wasn't going to go, because I had just been hit by a car and wasn't so good at walking. My teacher promised me that the buses will drive us to the different places so there won't be a lot of walking involved. Ended up being we did have to walk a lot, the teacher felt bad and apologized to me and made sure everything was ok. Turned out it was all good. I was so happy I went at the end, because I have great pictures to look back on different memories.

So it will be worth it for him to go. It's a one time opportunity. Money you can always replace, an experience like this you can't.

Leora said...

All I can say (oh, my, am I late on this one) is I bet your son will value money more than most kids (more than my son). He sounds like a bright kid; I hope he gets one of those cushy Wall Street jobs in ten years, and you can retire from all this worry.

Mazel tov on the wedding.

EndOfWorld said...

It sounds like he really wants to go and you don't want him to feel left out

That being said, I now wish that my parents would have been more open with me about money issues when I was growing up. They never made a big deal about paying for these things, even though they worked their tuches off to pay for it. And you know what? I regret it now. While it's great to always get what you want, it would have definitely been a learning experience for me. Granted, in a diplomatic way (we can't afford to feed you. sorry) and for things that didn't matter so much (like the 50 barbies that I owned)

Now that I'm paying for my own trips and toys, I have hard time accepting the concept that sometimes you can't afford things :(

ProfK said...

The thing I am still focused on is the $320 cost, particularly since there will be 4 boys to a room. Just where are they staying for Shabbos that the cost is this high? If he really wants to go and you can work it out, and if you are sure this is not a down hill slide into wanting a whole bunch of other things then okay. But I would ask anyway why the cost is this high and what could be done to bring down the costs for the next trip.

Lion of Zion said...

"what could be done to bring down the costs for the next trip"

how about making it a camping trip, weather permitting.

SuperRaizy said...

Wow. I don't know where to begin to respond to all the comments.
Suffice it to say that what I'm dealing with here is a truly good boy. He's not spoiled, he's not demanding. He's an honor student, he works in the summers and babysits when he can to earn pocket money. He is well behaved and respectful and helps out at home when I need it. (And he would probably like me to add that he's got a great dunk shot.) If I were to tell him that he can't go to the Shabbaton because it's too expensive, he would be disappointed, but would accept my word without an argument. And it's not his fault that the trip costs so much. And it's not his fault that I chose to send him to a school in a wealthy neighborhood, where most of the other parents can afford this.
That child is the most precious thing in the world to me, and I have spent money on far stupider things than this. This time, love wins out, and Flash gets to go on this trip just like all the other boys.

The Babysitter said...

Super Raizy: Your kids are so lucky, you are such a great parent! And you are so lucky that your kids are so good in return! B"H

SuperRaizy said...

babysitter-
That is so nice of you to say, but I'm not such a great parent at all. I try my best, just like all the other parents out there.
("And you are so lucky that your kids are so good" - that statement is 100% true! ( :

rickismom said...

I think that the schools have to chose cheaper places. Here is Israel when a school has a trip, they usually stay at the dorm of another institution that is having an "out" shabbas. Makes it cheaper.
Fubnd raising is not the answer. We need fundraising for people who can't afford to send their children (like special needs kids) to a frum SCHOOL

Lion of Zion said...

"I think that the schools have to chose cheaper places. "

i think schools should cut out these trip and other extracurriculars or otherwise signifigantly lower costs. the most realistic short-term way to make tuition more manageable is for the schools to get back to the basics.

"We need fundraising for people who can't afford to send their children (like special needs kids) to a frum SCHOOL"

yeah. my friend pays almost 50k for tuition for his son in a special needs frum school

The Babysitter said...

Rickis Mom: there are some fund raising going on for children with Special needs, not such server cases though. I don't know if you ever heard of Petach? but I kow someone who on purim sends out cards from them wishing people a happy purim, instead of giving the regular shaloch manos, and by sending out those cards, she pays Petach, so that's a way they raise money to help fund the school. They also have Chinese auctions to raise money, and other kids of events. But yea these schools are very expensive, I know a girl in Ichud, where its a special kind of program, and it cost 45,000 tuition. I'm not sure if insurance covers it or not.

Baila said...

I know I'm late with this, but when we lived in the states we also sent our kids to a school that had many affluent kids. The 5 towns is considered to be an affluent neighborhood. But somehow, I knew many parents that could not afford trips like this. I wouldn't say it was the majority, but I would say it was a significant enough portion of kids that you would think the administration would have some sensitivity to it. (The administration did give breaks to parents who asked for it, but it get tiresome always asking for these breaks, you know?). And you would think with tuition at the high school level being upward of $15,000 that trips would be included.

ProfK said...

There is a different irony present in this whole discussion of school trips and the costs. Total up the costs of all the trips and then ask yourself if you could or would spend that amount on a vacation for yourself or your family. Lots of discussion on all the blogs about how people can't afford vacations in this economic climate. Just what is a school trip if not a paid vacation? And that's trips, multiple. Just how many vacations away from home did you parents take last year? How many hotel nights away from home? If you did manage a family vacation, then just why does your child need another one without you? For $320 you can buy discount tickets and take the whole family to a Broadway show. For $320 you can take an entire family down to Philly, rent a motel room and see the sights. Just why are these trips part of the school requirements?

triLcat said...

I LOOOOOOOOOOVED the high school trips. I got SO much out of them.

However, my high school was sensitive - we had host housing in some places, and slept on a jcc floor in some places. Usually trips were kept under $100.

You absolutely have the right to call the school and say that the experience is wonderful, but sleeping in a sleeping bag in a JCC is just as "experiential" as sleeping in a hotel.