At this time next week my kids will be done or just about done with their first day of school! Over the last week we have been preparing. We are taking inventory of what shoes don’t fit, how many pairs of new socks we actually need and if we even need to buy jeans right now because it’s 100 degrees outside until, at least, October. We have football practice through Pop Warner–because our school system doesn’t offer tackle football. We have Varsity Cheer, and I’m expected to sell an arm to fund bloomers and bows. Then there is swim team, because the little one can’t handle the grass allergies of football anymore.
All of these things add up…and add up ridiculously. Along with wondering where all of our “lottery money to support eduction” funding is ACTUALLY going, I wonder how the school systems are feeding the fire in my kids that what we have is not enough.
Let’s take CHEERLEADING for example. The mandatory parent meeting ended with lots of mom’s shaking our heads saying, “Are you kidding me!?” The Cheer coach says, “Cheer is expensive. It just is.” But why? Why: It Just Is? Who decided that we need $400 worth of EXTRAS to supplement the uniform? Who decided that we MUST purchase (MANDATORY: MY NEW FAVORITE WORD) matching warm ups and everyone MUST have a parent join BOOSTER Club. And we MUST purchase at least 2 matching bows. “And Varsity, ladies. This is just start up costs.”
Then there is FOOTBALL. Athletics in our district don’t support competitive sports in middle school. Every single child makes the team, no matter what. So we are on our own to find a football team that offers true teaching and team play. $250 registration. You get pads and a helmet. It’s MANDATORY that we donate gatorade for the team to sell at the concession stand–it’s not for the players–parents have to sign up to donate that for the games. And we need new shoes, and need game pants, and chin straps and mouth guards. And gas money to travel 100 miles for a game.
I know I whine a lot.
But here is why I whine.
It’s never enough. And our kids are being told it’s not enough. And they are being feared into believing that if they don’t do all that is MANDATORY, somehow they will not have favoritism with the coach, or will be benched, or made fun of by the others.
This excessive spending, and philosophy of “We Need More” will become engraved in their lifestyle just as easily as character building, and commitment will. It is a battle against the family who is attempting to live a minimalistic lifestyle. It is a battle against the truth that God will provide all you need–not necessarily all you want.
As a parent and youth & children’s leader, its is MANDATORY I teach kids about being a team player without getting hung up on the materialism of the sport. It is MANDATORY I encourage them that when God provides these opportunities, they are REALLY opportunities to share the love of God with everyone within their reach. $400 dollars is nothing if someone is introduced to Christ. But I wouldn’t complain if Public School really was free!