Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to School

It’s time to get the kids ready to go back to school. It’s time to argue about what clothes they will wear, whether they need a laptop and the hundreds of other minor little details that drive us parents with school age kids crazy.

But let’s all take a minute to think about what we’re actually doing: We’re enjoying a luxury.

Sure, not many of us parents — or kids — consider back-to-school shopping a luxury. But it is.

Face it, because of our hard work, our kids can get two or three pair of new jeans every fall, we can decide whether we want to get them the good laptop or the better one. And, hell, some of us even get to buy our kids a new car!

The thing is, we’re the lucky ones. Our kids are the lucky ones.

For every kid out there choosing between the straight or boot cut for their new jeans, there are a handful of kids that can’t even get pencils.

According to the Maryland State Department of Education, there are 290,000 kids in the state getting free or reduced lunches because they are so poor their families can’t afford them. If lunch is a luxury, then what is a backpack?

Sure, we can go back and forth all day about school funding and a million other things, but that doesn’t change the fact that thousands of kids are going to start school in the next couple of weeks without the most basic school supplies.

So do those kids a favor. When you are out shopping this week and next, do what you can. Buy a couple extra backpacks, another packet of pencils, a few extra reams of paper and donate them. Most counties have drop off sites, so give them a call. If not, call the schools. Trust me, people care and will get the supplies into the right hands.

And, when you’re doing it, take your kids. They’ll learn a lesson before the school bell of the year has rung: In this life, there is a difference between “want” and “need.”

-LOUIS LLOVIO, Daily Record Business Writer

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