Last night I attended a planning meeting for the 6th grade day trip that my daughter will go on in the spring. There were 11 parents/guardians in attendance – the same ones that attend all of the meetings and events.
Raising money for this trip is going to fall to the 11 parents at this meeting(and whoever is brave enough to attend future meetings), that was made clear from the get go. It is also up to the 11, to a point, to decide where the trip will be. We tossed around some ideas and came up with rough costs. At this point, one mother stated that she would rather just pay for the trip for her child outright. None of this fundraising business. Let me just state right now that I could not agree more. I do not need $55 worth of candles or wrapping paper or candy. Let me write my check for $55 and off my daughter goes on the trip. However. There are parents who can not make that same gesture. It’s a fact. $55 (and that is the cost if we stay in Maine for the day – double that if we decide to venture out of state) will be a hardship for some families. How do we ensure those children attend this trip?
Cricket, cricket. Blink, blink.
“Well,” the one mother finally responded “we can then do fundraisers for the kids who can’t afford to pay.” To which her friend sitting next to her replied “Yeah…like a bake sale! And we can charge $55 per muffin – I’ll make them really big!”
While I understand this was an attempt at humor, I was outraged. Is it a joke that there are families in our community who will not be able to afford this trip for their children? Are we so smug in our own security that it makes it ok for us to laugh at others who are not?
My knee jerk reaction was to bid adieu to the parents in attendance and be on my way. I have learned though, that silence is acceptance. I will not be silent. I will attend, I will plan, I will make sure we have enough money for every child to go on the trip, whether their family can afford it or not. And I will do it with grace and tact and humor when appropriate.
Men show their characters in nothing more clearly than in what they think laughable. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe