Many of you may know that I send my son to a Catholic high school. I went to the public high school in the town we live in. When we moved back here the summer before my son started kindergarten, I vowed that he would never end up there. In addition, I moved around a lot as a kid. If you know what it is like to be the new kid every couple of years, you will understand why I had an aversion to putting my child through that.
I enrolled him in a Catholic grammer school so the transition at high school wouldn't be so difficult, and also so that he would have the stability of knowing the same group of kids from kindergarten through 8th grade, no matter if or where we moved. Not to mention, this school was just academically better than most of the other public schools in our town.
I had a lot of help, financially, or I never would have been able to do it. And, I've had a lot of help getting him into this high school. After he was accepted, I received a letter letting me know that almost 2/3 of his tuition was going to be paid by a scholarship. I still have to pay for the rest of the tuition, and uniforms and books, but we make do.
One of his books was given to him on a "town-loan" program. He doesn't always have 5 shirts and 5 pairs of pants that fit him, but he does laundry mid-week. The beauty of the uniform system is that every one looks the same, except the guys get to pick out their own ties. And my son has excellent taste in ties. Tar-Jay had a sale last weekend and we picked up 2 100% silk ties for less than $18.00. I think I'm going off course here, so let me reel it in.
After Christmas, my son told me that he was talking to some friends and they had gotten better/nicer versions of their electronics for Christmas. One of his friends had gotten a 16gb IPod touch to upgrade their 8gb one. When he asked his friend what he was going to do with the old one, his friend said it was just laying around in a drawer. My son offerred him 10 bucks for it, and the friend agreed. I just couldn't wrap my mind around that. I asked my son what his parents thought about that, how could they just let him sell such an expensive gadget for $10? My son explained to me that many kids at the school have wealthy parents who just don't think the same way as I do about things. As I could not have ever afforded to give my kid an IPod touch, I was amazed.
Then my son proceeded to tell me that he had also asked around and rounded up some unused cell phones after his friends got upgraded over the holidays. Some he got for free, some he paid $5 for. He sold them to Gazelle.com and they put $129.00 in his PayPal account. I was flabbergasted! Who lets their kids just sell stuff they paid good money for? And, was my kid robbing people blind or just showing an entrapeneuliar spirit and his Jewish grandmother's gift of making money?
I have to admit that I didn't understand when my son told me that not all, but many of his classmates parent's are "wealthy". When I think wealthy, I think - okay, your family may be making four times what ours does, but you also have 3 kids. Of those 3 kids, one may be in college and the other 2 are coming up for it. It all evens out in the wash, right?
I've always tried to instill in my son the difference between right and wrong; and the difference between what we need to survive and excess. We never go hungry, we always have clothes to wear, we have a roof over our heads, and most of the time we have electricity, heat, and hot water. In addition, we have cable television, and internet access. We even have air conditioning in the summer. We are doing much better than about 75% of the population on this planet. We are actually incredibly lucky to be living in a country where people take this for granted.
I have a hard time thinking about taking advantage of people, no matter what their circumstances. It worried me that I thought my son was taking advantage of his classmates. I knew in advance that one of my son's fellow members of the football team, just one grade ahead, was the son of the head coach of UCONN football. When I heard this morning that he was the second highest paid state employee at 1.4 million, I stopped feeling guilty...
18 hours ago