Our school yearbook came out this week. And, as usual, Mrs. Art did the most fantastic job on it. It's lovely with full color pictures, quotations from the students "walk' across the pages, the dedication pages to two of the students who passed away this past year were heartwarming- it was just a delightful presentation.
For those kids who did not pre-purchase a yearbook, they went on sale this week as well. Eighth graders got to buy their's yesterday, seventh graders today, and sixth graders tomorrow. If there are any left by Friday, they'll go on sale to everyone.
They are not, however, cheap. At $28, it's a big chunk of change for some of our kids to shell out, but many of them do. It's important to them. We even schedule a period where we take the whole team down to the cafeteria and let them run around and sign each other's yearbooks.
So today a few of my homeroom kids were in line, cash in hand, and they bought their yearbooks. The excitement was intense as they opened them up, looked at the pictures, giggled over how silly they looked, and had their friends sign.
However, one of my girls, Twiggy Girl, didn't get a yearbook.
"I wanted a yearbook," she said to me as she came back from her locker. "But my mom said we couldn't afford one."
"I can understand that," I answered. I really could. I have property taxes due this month.
"Yeah, but she went out last night and bought beer and cigarettes," she replied bitterly. Then she turned and went to her seat.
Folks, kids aren't stupid. You may think they don't notice what you do, but they do. So when you tell them that you can't afford something, don't turn around and go buy something for yourself, especially something that isn't a vital necessity. What you're telling that kid is that your habits and addictions are more important than he or she is.
And unfortunately, for a lot of kids, that's more than true.