Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cheaper than Rehab

Son number one came home earlier this week and informed us that he "needed a couple of bucks for bowling." His P.E. class is headed to the lanes, and each trip will cost us $2. A small price to pay, admittedly. But like most parents, we're nickel-and-dimed to death. Consider the recent "school related" expenses we've encountered:
  • $75 for team approved basketball shoes for Abby
  • $40 for Abby's "practice pack"
  • $35 a month for a trombone for Jonah (It's only $600 if we pay all at once)
  • $75 for Caleb's Junior High semi-formal dance (ticket, corsage for date, new shoes, slacks)
  • $290 for a class ring for Abby
I sometimes get frustrated, as I imagine my parents once did. But then I remind myself, "it's cheaper than rehab." A Health Services Research study indicated that the average cost for inpatient substance abuse treatment in the US is $3754, and that such treatment is only effective about 70% of the time.

If you believe Peter Benson's research on the 40 Developmental Assets at Search Institute (and I think it is some of the best out there), involvement in things like band, and sports, and positive peer relationships are the very things that help kids avoid destructive behaviors. The price you and I pay, $50 here and there, is small compared to the incomparable financial, physical, emotional and spiritual toll that results from trying to parent on the cheap.

At least that's what I plan to tell myself the next time Caleb hits me up for five bucks to go to the game.

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