MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should Elizabeth tell Charles he can't go on the trip?



  • I think a parent who scrimped and saved or went without to pay for their child would be rightly affronted to discover they were subsidising another child.
  • Elizabeth should apply for the help and let her son go. I would be happy to pay more to help a child broaden their education and have fun at the same time.
  • If the offer to cover cost is there, take it. Everyone needs to realise that sometimes they can give, sometimes they are given to. She should not be proud - if we were all so who would we give to?
    :TProud to be dealing with my debts :T
  • Edited out because of a forum glitch!
  • "Elizabeth's 13 year old son Charles attends a local youth club."

    Right-oh. Plenty old enough to understand money troubles, not really old enough to do much about it. There have been a few suggestions on here as to paper rounds and the like, but we don't know how much notice has been given of the trip. Unless they're paying paperboys (and girls) a lot more than they were last time I checked, he's not going to come up with £80 quickly without a daily round; and those are very hard to come by.

    "It has invited the kids away on a forest adventure long-weekend costing around £80."

    Really? Then this isn't a youth club particularly aimed at low-income families or the underprivileged! £80 is a good price these days for a long weekend of supervised activity for 13-year-olds, but still a lot of money for many people.

    "Whilst Charles is very keen, unfortunately Elizabeth simply cannot afford it."

    And under normal circumstances, that would be that. What we don't know from the example is whether or not there are other children in a similar situation. I'm presuming not for three reasons:

    1) If half the kids in the club were unable to go, Elizabeth wouldn't feel so bad about him having to stay behind.

    2) These organisations are not run by stupid people, and if they've picked an activity costing £80, then it's a sum that most of the attendees are going to be able to afford. Perhaps this is a youth club in a relatively affluent area, and Elizabeth's financial situation is an exception rather than the rule.

    The biggest reason, however, is:

    3) "The youth club's policy is that in genuine cases of hardship, which Elizabeth qualifies for, the other parents will all pay more to subsidise it, when the final price is announced."

    You can't operate a policy like that if a significant proportion of your membership would qualify! If a third of the group were too cash-strapped to afford it, the price would jump from £80 to £120, or from £80 to £106.67 if a quarter couldn't afford it. We can safely assume that Charles is a rare case, and that if he doesn't go he'll be very much in the minority. He's probably not unique - you wouldn't *have* a policy like that if the situation never arose - but this is still a club where most people have a reasonable amount of money, not one where the majority would struggle.

    "While she'll be anonymous, Elizabeth feels uneasy about this. Should she still let Charles go?"

    Look at the preceding statement again: "The youth club's policy is that..."

    All of the parents whose children are in the youth club are - or very much ought to be - aware of the club's policy. Their children are still allowed to attend. The parents have all agreed that if there's a child in genuine hardship, they will subsidise the trip. Elizabeth knew this and still allowed Charles to attend. What on earth did she think the club's policy was there for if expensive trips weren't going to come up from time to time? Where does she get off letting her daft mixed-up ethical stance ruin Charles' opportunity, not to mention questioning the decision of all the other grown-ups who decided it should work that way?

    Elizabeth should turn it around in her head. Presumably, she didn't plan to be in a difficult financial situation. She should ask herself "If I had plenty of money and to spare for Charles to go on this trip, would I willingly part with an extra fiver if it meant that some child whose parents were flat broke could go?"

    The huge majority of people would immediately say "yes" to that question.

    It's very nice n' all that she's questioning the situation - it shows that she didn't deliberately put her son in the club to take advantage of the policy - but the policy's there for a reason and everyone has agreed to it.

    I DO agree with several people here that at age 13 he should have the situation explained, but not hammered into him.

    I know too many youths who've had the "you're poor, you're inferior" message indoctrinated into them - quite unintentionally - by their parents, who don't realise what they're doing. A child who has had that message drummed in too hard can go one of three ways: they can work to better themselves (rare), they can use it as an internal excuse to go around nicking stuff and going off the rails because "life's not fair" (more common), or they can set their sights too low because they don't think they can aspire to much and if they're doing better than their parents were then they're alright (very common).

    In my opinion, a far better message is:

    "We're in financial trouble right now and what this means is that the other parents are having to pay more so that you can go. I want you to take note of this and to treat the trip as a privilege. Then one day when you're earning lots of money - maybe when you have kids of your own - you should take the opportunity to help someone else who needs it. You shouldn't feel bad that it is working out this way, but you shouldn't forget about it either."

    It's the whole "social responsibility" thing in microcosm, and not a bad lesson to learn at that age if it's handled well.

    That's my two-pennorth, anyway :)
  • I think he should be allowed to go. It would do him the world of good to be be with kids his own age doing things that they should be doing and not things they shouldn't.

    Like others said though, it should be explained to him that it is a lot of money which she can't afford but if he is willing to try and help raise the money then he deserves it. Unfortunately not all kids can be handed things on a plate and this is not always a bad thing as it teaches them the value of money.

    However, they should contribute as much as they can towards the trip.
  • If it's the Youth Club's policy then parents know that the price includes subsidies for others who may not be able to afford it. Also the OP says that the policy is for "geniuine cases of hardship" and that this is a genuine case of hardship. Presumably it is offered on the principle that they want all the children to benefit from such trips rather than just those who can afford it. As this policy is already in place, I see no reason why che should not let her son go on the trip. As for it being a "privilege", it is a privilege for all the children to get to go on this trip regardless of where the funding comes from.
  • I feel that Charlie & Bet should make every effort to scrape together as much of the money as possible. and if they are truly hardup then swallow their pride and allow Charlie to have his trip. :D

    Slightly off the point however, I work at a school and if a trip is national curriculum based then the school can not stop a child going due to hardship. However the families with the big fat motor cars and flash clothes are the ones who usually dont pay the nominal charge. My gran always called these mums (fur coat and no knickers - which i always understood to mean they had no pants cos they couldnt afford them after they bought the flashy coat)

    It is mostly the families who scrape the cash together to send in the nominal charge who ends up paying for the others because their parents buy the raffle tickets at christmas that pay into the school fund that pays for hardship? kids to go to the summer school trip. What a world we live in.:mad:

    OP on mortgage since jan 07 - £200 (keep it up to save £11K)
  • Explain to him that you really don't want to do it. But if other people have to pay an extra £1 or 2 to allow a child to come i don't think they would mind too much, i wouldn't. As long as he behaves himself!

  • Slightly off the point however, I work at a school and if a trip is national curriculum based then the school can not stop a child going due to hardship. However the families with the big fat motor cars and flash clothes are the ones who usually dont pay the nominal charge. My gran always called these mums (fur coat and no knickers - which i always understood to mean they had no pants cos they couldnt afford them after they bought the flashy coat)


    This is a case of genuine hardship and Charles should be allowed to go. The policy is there for a reason. No youth organisation would want any child to miss out simply because of financial difficulties.

    But I have to agree with lola_r_hamster I have known parents who (once they knew that payments for school trips were voluntary) refused to ever pay for another trip. One particular parent also kept her children away from school on every sponsored event as well:mad: This was not because of financial harship (I did know them very well) but on 'principle' the 'princple' being that she didn't have to pay. If you take this to its logical reason then no parent will pay and no trips will happen because there will simply not be the money to cover it.

    It seems that there are those of us who find it hard to admit we will have to struggle and I am not talking about missing out on a few take aways here but really financially struggle to pay for these trips. I recently pointed out to a single parent who had just lost her job that all I wanted was the permission slip for her child to come on a school trip. We could sort the finances out later if she wanted. She was adamant that she would pay for it before the trip. When I compare her to the parents who can but refuse to pay it makes my blood boil.
    True wealth lies in contentment - not cash. Dollydaydream 2006
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