As if providing food, shelter and clothing for your children isn’t hard enough, sending them off to school can set back the wallet.
Just remember: Don’t take art (extra fees and the supply list will give you the extra aggression you need to paint like de Kooning. Don’t take wood shop (the price of that hand-made chopping board makes you feel like you’re headed for the chopping block). And Sports ? I about fell out of my chair when I heard that uniforms had to be bought new. And this is not to mention the price of admission, transportation costs and the price of an order of bright yellow nachos.
Attention and enjoyment for your child also come into play.
The old saying “Once you start something, finish it” still has its place. But times have changed.
Children have so many opportunities to occupy their time that if your child hates an activity, and every agonizing practice costs your family more time and money, why not find something that your child can commit to in the long haul — and live up to the spirit of finishing what you start?
A new smart marketing stategy for activities is to try them before you commit to years of anguish. Two that recently came into my hands are:
No. 1: Two free lessons on any instrument (available with an ad in the Wednesday, Nov. 23, edition of The Ottawa Herald). I’m totally taking advantage of this one. My daughter has a guitar she loves and gets it out to strum like a rock star. But to see if she truly is interested and disciplined enough to practice, I will totally take advantage of two lessons to see if she is ready.
No. 2: A youth basketball clinic. I have to admit my child is handicapped coming from a family of non-sports parents (I am embarrassed that we don’t even own a basketball). This offer is two free Saturday clinics taught by high school students. All before the deadline (and money is due) for a season of T-shirts, practice and games.
She really, really wants to do it, but I am not sure she is ready for the intense learning of dribbling, shooting and don’t forget the suicide laps. Two afternoon sessions will at least give her the feel for the sport beyond grade school gym and give us the opportunity to have that talk about stick-to-it-ive-ness.
I like this new marketing trend of try-before-you-exert-yourself-too-much. I would rather not pay for the lessons and practices if my child doesn’t like it or doesn’t learn from it.