"I've come to accept that for kids to have really interesting experiences, you have to put in the dollars."
That's what a friend of two unschooling teens shared with me. She is far from rich. She and her husband have 4 kids (two kids under 12). Her daughters are off to London for the one to take acting classes at a school she has long had her eye on. It's a two week course and the daughter has worked and saved up all year for tutiton while mum and dad will be covering the trip over.
While the 'good things in life are free,' having that extra to make a dream possible adds spice to life experiences.
Where there is a will, there is a way, so the saying goes. What my friend is saying, is that there comes a time when you might need to make a sacrifice: if that is the dream, help them get there by being willing to do the financial piece.
I know that music lessons were and continue to be important to my family and we make it happen. Now my middle gal teaches a little and she teaches at her violin teacher's studio and gets $10 off her lessons.This helps us (the parents).
Daughter plans to do acting lessons in Toronto so that means dollars. She is saving up her earnings and we will also be helping with tuition and transportation.
Another daughter wants singing lessons. She has wanted singing lessons for a long time—years even. But she too must pull her weight so that we can push her along.
Baulking at spending money is understandable but you can also look at it as an investment—in order for the kids to grow in their experiences and skills and yes, even happiness.
We are not talking here about catering whims. Rather, when the interest rings authentic, when there is effort made on the part of the child, real effort, then it's time to aid the kid along. Cheering the kid along won't suffice without actually putting dollars behind the interest. Otherwise it shrivels on the vine.
If there really is no way to squeeze blood out of a rock, then try battering. Look around and see if there is a way to make the costs more reasonable by doing a small group singing lesson, for example. There are always ways to get around the barriers. Be patient.
The other thing is exposure: your child is unlikely to flourish in her talent if there is no one to aspire to; no great models to try and emulate.
Again, that sometimes means dollars. Take music. Going to concerts to hear live music are costly. But often, there are half price or even free lunch hour concerts that are made available to the public.
I'm interested in learning about how readers of this blog 'make it happen' when it comes to paying for experiences and opportunities. Please drop us a line!