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    Former MSE Natasha
    MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should Elizabeth tell Charles he can't go on the trip?
    • #1
    • 12th Feb 07, 6:30 PM
    MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should Elizabeth tell Charles he can't go on the trip? 12th Feb 07 at 6:30 PM
    Here's this week's hypothetical situation for you to cogitate on:

    Should Elizabeth tell Charles he can't go on the trip?

    "Elizabeth's 13 year old son Charles attends a local youth club. It has invited the kids away on a forest adventure long-weekend costing around £80. Whilst Charles is very keen, unfortunately Elizabeth simply cannot afford it. 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. While she'll be anonymous, Elizabeth feels uneasy about this. Should she still let Charles go?"


    Click reply to enter the money moral maze (please remember, be polite to other MoneySavers, even if you disagree with them).

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    Last edited by MSE Martin; 13-02-2007 at 8:41 PM.
Page 1
    • red_debs
    • By red_debs 13th Feb 07, 8:56 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    • #2
    • 13th Feb 07, 8:56 PM
    Share the problem
    • #2
    • 13th Feb 07, 8:56 PM
    At 13 I think Charles is old enough to understand the situation and I would talk it through with him. Once he is aware of the facts perhaps he can help make the decision. Whatever the decision he will know that you care about not just him but others too.
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 13th Feb 07, 9:19 PM
    • 32,227 Posts
    • 63,603 Thanks
    • #3
    • 13th Feb 07, 9:19 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Feb 07, 9:19 PM
    Elizabeth should explain to Charles how money is tight. If he really wants to go, maybe he could get a paper round or babysit.

    Meanwhile, Elizabeth should be doing her d__mndest (ebaying, babysitting, ironing etc), to raise the money too.

    If it's a team effort and they get the money, he should go, but if they don't then he is old enough to understand if the explanation is done sensitively and maybe he and a friend could have a treat with the money he and Elizabeth HAVE raised.
    Member #10 of 2 savers club
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology: Terry Eagleton
    • Lurleene
    • By Lurleene 13th Feb 07, 10:43 PM
    • 1,103 Posts
    • 4,987 Thanks
    • #4
    • 13th Feb 07, 10:43 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Feb 07, 10:43 PM
    Whilst I know this is a hypothetical situation, I work for a local youth centre and it is our policy that in cases of genuine hardship we will find ways of covering things if a yp would benefit from an activity. Not to generalise, but often those in poorest financial situations will achieve more than those whose families can afford to offer them certain experiences.

    Rather than looking upon the holiday as a charity exercise, maybe it could be seen as a golden opportunity. I think Mum should let him go , but point out to him that it is a priveledge and he should treat it as such. Hopefully he will come home with some great memories, new relationships, and maybe even some new skills!
  • mogoot
    • #5
    • 13th Feb 07, 10:47 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Feb 07, 10:47 PM
    Elizabeth has a responsibility to do the best for her child. The trip will undoubtedly be beneficial to Charles, so why shouldn't he have the opportunity? Perhaps if Elizabeth feels uncomfortable taking money from others to pay for it, perhaps she could offer a contribution to meet part of the costs.
    • Bossyboots
    • By Bossyboots 14th Feb 07, 5:35 AM
    • 6,547 Posts
    • 3,310 Thanks
    • #6
    • 14th Feb 07, 5:35 AM
    • #6
    • 14th Feb 07, 5:35 AM
    I agree with the others, he should be allowed to go but it should be explained to him about the financial situation so that he understands the privilege he is getting now and also that this doesn't mean he will be able to do or have anything he wants later on if they can't afford it.
  • jw007
    • #7
    • 14th Feb 07, 6:20 AM
    • #7
    • 14th Feb 07, 6:20 AM
    While I agree that he should be allowed to go, I think those who are saying he should be told about the financial situation & that it is a priveledge should be aware that for those whose parents can also afford the trip it is also a priveledge. He should NOT be made to feel different or lectured at because of his financial position! The source of the other parents income which is paying for the trip is not up for question (drug dealer, pimp!) and does not result in the lecturing of their children. So the bottom line is he should go and no one (including his mother) should make him feel bad or different for how he was able to go!!
  • juliaw
    • #8
    • 14th Feb 07, 7:54 AM
    • #8
    • 14th Feb 07, 7:54 AM
    He should go. The youth centre staff will find a way of dealing with it sensitively. It's his mother who has the problem. However, do not underestimate what this feels like for his mother. My daughter went on a leadership course paid for by the local Rotary Club (we haven't been away on holiday for several years). My friend had been part of a sponsored swim to raise money for this project, and I had sponsored her. I will never recover from the shock of realising that I was on the other side of the fence. My family were being helped by a charity.
    • garyrjb
    • By garyrjb 14th Feb 07, 7:56 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    • #9
    • 14th Feb 07, 7:56 AM
    Similar dilemma
    • #9
    • 14th Feb 07, 7:56 AM
    We have just had this dilemma with my lad who came home with a drama letter asking for 180 for an overnight trip to London . the itinery was excellent 2 shows and a workshop etc.
    We sat down and talked about it and said we would pay half if my boy paid half (proceeds from boot fair). He elected not to go because he realised it was just too much money for an overnight trip. I believe a valuble lesson for a 13 year old boy!!

    A lot of his friends have been unable to go also.
    • Coveredinbees!!!!
    • By Coveredinbees!!!! 14th Feb 07, 8:00 AM
    • 3,176 Posts
    • 1,961 Thanks
    Free holiday let him go!!!

  • cazrobinson
    i would discuss it with my little one and see if they want to go first.

    how keen he/she was about it would make up my mind.

    if i was really too porr to even contribute via cold, hard cash, i would volunteer time in helping to organise, sort-out the trip, or help out regularly with the youth club.

    youth clubs aren't just run on money, but willing and enthusiastic volunteers!
    What goes around - comes around
    give lots and you will always recieve lots
    • bobmccluckie
    • By bobmccluckie 14th Feb 07, 8:34 AM
    • 61 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    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.
    • poorbabe
    • By poorbabe 14th Feb 07, 8:40 AM
    • 890 Posts
    • 1,800 Thanks
    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.

  • Wiggly_Worm
    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?
    Proud to be dealing with my debts
  • DevilGoesDown2Bristol
    Edited out because of a forum glitch!
  • DevilGoesDown2Bristol
    Don't see the problem myself!
    "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
    • Footpather
    • By Footpather 14th Feb 07, 8:58 AM
    • 57 Posts
    • 100 Thanks
    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.
  • SusanCarter
    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.
  • lola_r_hamster
    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.

    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.

    OP on mortgage since jan 07 - £200 (keep it up to save £11K)
    Last edited by lola_r_hamster; 14-02-2007 at 10:16 AM.
  • missthang
    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!
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