Budget cut the prom

At a club gathering, recently, I was surrounded by talk about school proms. Being the parent of a high school freshman, I knew my time would soon come. I was all ears.

“I eat, sleep and live fund raisers, fund raisers, fund raisers!” one mom said.

I envisioned the word “fund raiser” popping up along road sides like the old Burma Shave ads. My kids have had their fill of fund raisers already. “What does she mean?” I thought.

“We only have around $1,000 and we need, what, $8,000 or $9,000?” she sighed.

What was that? We’re talking these figures about a teen dance?

Another mom continued, “A prom now can cost around $30,000 with everything included.”

I was overwhelmed. “It can’t be that much,” I thought, but yes. They talked on about disc jockeys, trips to fun parks, and swimming pools, arcades, and other ways the kids might be “entertained.” The comfortable tour buses to take them there was one of the big expenses.

What are we doing? What happened to teaching our kids a sense a value? If parents are willing to raise this kind of money (sometimes trying to outdo the class that went before), and allow tens of thousands to be blown in one night, they are outrageously imbalanced in their sense of value of money.

Thousands of New Yorkers have lost their homes and their security. The world has always had too many homeless, hungry people. Yet, can we allow this kind of extravagance as part of “school” experience? Parents and kids, let’s face reality. Put the importance of school dances in proper perspective in proportion to the real needs of the world.

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