Tuesday, October 23, 2007

just wondering...

Been thinking about money and the nature of how we view the world thru our wallet.

Last night our son Sam complained, for the first time, about having to go to a local Jr. College instead of getting to go away to a four year University. He worked pretty hard in High School, ended up with a 4.0 avg. and passed 3 UP classes and tests to earn college credit. He wants to be an Engineer, breezes thru math and his goal had been to go to Stanford, the only college to deny his acceptance. USC, Fresno St., UOP, and Cal Poly all wanted him, with UOP actually offering him $32,000 in scholarships, grants and loans…and a promise to try to find more money for him if that wasn’t enuf (total of $40grand per year). When he turned that down, saying he never really wanted to go to that school (?), we cringed….how can ANYONE turn down $32,000 ?!?!?

I think Stanford was his dream and once that was gone, going to COS seemed acceptable…and he said he would regret not TRYING college football. Which may be the reason for the revisionist history he seems to be engaging in now. I think if the team were doing better or if he were playing more, the whole Jr. College experience would be more palatable. I do feel bad tho, we just don’t have the kind of money it would take to send our kids to college right out of high school…and I’m not sure it’s the best thing for most kids anyway. Our kids are all, in varying degrees, homebodies. Being raised in a small town (pop. 10,000) has that kind of effect and I like it. They may all whine and complain about how boring it is and make elaborate plans for gettin’ out of Dodge, but in the end, LOTS of them return. Half of Brads friends who went away to school didn’t make it thru the first year….homesick?...they’d never admit it but I think it plays a big part in their decision to come home.

We really feel that 2 more years around the family can’t hurt and probably will make the college experience that much more special. I also asked him if he really wanted to be going to school with the spoiled rich kids he couldn’t stand in high school….he said he didn’t have anything against money…I asked him how he thought those kids got spoiled if it wasn’t the money?

Not that I wouldn’t love to get off the paycheck to paycheck merry-go-round, but having money makes it harder to teach your kids values…not impossible…just harder. I’ve had to sit and listen to friends discuss what kind of car to buy their soon-to-be 16yr. old because they didn’t want to spoil them….so instead of the brand new BMW the kid wanted he was going to have to settle for a Mustang (actual conversation, promise)…my boys each paid for their wreck of a first car with their own money…and Sam was 18 before he could afford even a wreck. He got rides with friends or (yikes) walked to where he needed to be. Brad still rides his bike around town…hey, gas is expensive...and I said it was a small town :)

And while we're on the subject, even as strapped as we are…I don’t consider us poor (my 13yr. old daughter does, but I don’t). My husband is a teacher and makes a good living. But from the day my kids were born I’ve been a SAHM and we’ve given up a lot so that I could be home with my kids. We have a wonderful (small) house, a great yard, food in our stomachs and clothes on our backs (note to daughter…poor kids don’t shop at Hollister).

Would our lives be easier with a bit more cash on hand?...heck Yes! Would we be better people?.....better dressed maybe, but not better people. Will our kids try to give their kids more stuff?…probably. Will they then be better people?….no, just better dressed.

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