George's school held a start-of-year function for parents so that we could meet the rabbeim, teachers, etc. Personally, I think these are good things... they give parents a chance to put a face with a name, get acquainted with other parents and, most importantly, to become familiar with the curriculum and what the educators expect of the kids.
Before we broke up into individual classes, the Menahel addressed the parent body. In his remarks, he tried to make the point that we should be instilling in our children the desire to learn and to achieve in Torah. We should be willing to show our children that learning and Yiddishkeit come first and that they should be the priority of one's life. In that respect, I agree 100%. However, he used a very curious example to make the point.
He noted that there were a group of parents that made such sacrifices for the school that, should they ask for a favor, he said, he would be unable to refuse them. These parents were to be commended for their actions and the demonstration that they made to their kids in showing how important school is.
What was this great act of sacrifice, you ask? What was this noble deed that the parents did that deserved such high praise?
Apparently, these parents had scheduled family vacations during school period. They were going to pull their kids out of school for four or five days or longer so that they could go to Florida or wherever. And yet, once they became aware of how important yeshiva was, they changed their tickets (at extra cost to them) so as to send the message to their kids that going to yeshiva was more important than vacation.
I don't want to undermine what the parents did -- indeed, by spending the extra money to change their plans, they did demonstrate a commitment. But I'm kind of curious as to why that is the "ultimate" act that got such high praise. To tell the truth, as a parent who wouldn't even think of pulling a kid out of school for a vacation in the first place, I was kind of peeved. I would think that our policy on this (which the kids are well aware of) would be even more praiseworthy... but apparently not. I guess to send my kid the right message, I have to first arrange to pull them out of school for a vacation and then reschedule.
Yeah, I know it's petty on my part... but that's the feeling I had last night.