This has been a hard week for me. I've talked to a lot of parents who, as one mom put it "it's not a hard choice-if it's music class or mortgage, you have to pay the mortgage". These are parents who have suffered a job loss, or are worried about the future for other reasons.
And I understand perfectly. We found out less than a month ago that my husband's company is being bought out-for the second time in 5 years. We don't know what it means for us, whether we'll be moving, whether he'll have a job. It's terrifying. And it's SO easy to say "Well, those extracurricular activities are extra. We don't need them, and can save that money for the future". And feel justified in doing so. Especially since it WOULD reduce my stress to not worry about scheduling piano lessons, or getting to dance classes, or sewing elastics on ballet slippers.
But the other side of it is that I see my daughter, who is also responding to the stress at home. The stress of her father's potential job, the stress of a mother who is trying to get students for music classes. And I see that for her, in an uncertain word, music and dance are something she can cling to. They're there for her, supporting her, giving her a chance to be successful, and people who focus on the present, right now, without fear of the future. And she needs that. What's more, I need that. I need to be able to see that my labors are worth it, that she's benefiting, and that she's happy.
Obviously, each family has to set their priorities, and if money's not there, it's not there. But consider the costs and benefits of stability, of familiarity, and of having someone in the child's life who isn't, for at least that hour, worried about the future. For me, it's worth it.