You can recognize us. We all look the same. Some of us have a teenager or young child or several in tow. Some of us come alone. We are easily identifiable. We are all clutching an A4 paper with a printed issued list. We all wear the same expression. A mix of excitement at finding most of what we need. A certain look of desperation and tiredness about the items that are on back order. Our eyes all carry the same look. Fear. In our heads we are adding up the totals. We have had the same look in the other store. A longer printed list. More fear. More pushing and shoving.
We are the parents. The former are in the book supplier store, buying textbooks. The latter are in the stationery stores. We all have similar needs. Hardcover 192 pg Quire books, Flip files, Quotation folders, Highlighters, Maths Sets (have you noticed you can buy one every year and every year either the compass or protractor goes missing), Sticky plastic, sellotape and more.
You find us in the school department of big stores as well. We hunt in packs, looking for grey long pants, white shirts and black or grey socks. Again we have that glazed look. The totals are soaring ... the textbooks, the stationery and the uniforms. The school fees are still coming along with all the extra costs for camps and other. Not to mention sports kits and shoes as some of us with High School boys find that they just grow. And grow. And grow some more. Towering above us.
As we move from store to store we start working out what expenses can wait until February. Somehow no matter how well you budget your excess money in December, back to school always comes as quite a blow.
And this year, as I look at what this has cost, I wonder how the many many people in our country living below the bread line, manage. How do people who do not even have enough food to fill all the mouths in the family, manage to get together even a portion of the money to ensure that their child receives a decent education. How do children cope when we see the pictures of schools where children learn under trees, or sitting 4 at a desk for 1. Some of these kids deliver phenomenal results. I look at the problems. I wonder about a system that is not giving enough attention to funding in these areas. And it is not a system that has a lack of funding available.
I pray for school kids. All of them. I pray that they use the opportunities that their parents work to give them. I pray that every child gets the chance to go to school and does not shun the chance when given it.
And I pray in thanksgiving for my 2 children. Who worked tirelessly and with great passion to ensure that the education we worked so hard to give them, was taken in both hands and achieved with great results and tremendous dedication.
c'est la vie xxx
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