I've got to say, when I asked for opinions, I certainly didn't expect that. All I was really looking for was a simple "yes, they're justified in asking" or "no, they're over the line." I certainly wasn't looking to cover how charity recipients ought to spending their free time/money.
For the record, I hate closing off debate on a matter. I happen to love a good debate and will be more than happy to argue almost any issue, provided it's done in a civil and polite manner. Apparently, for some people, that wasn't possible. The fact that people who know me in real life felt the need to intervene also factored into my decision to close off comments.
For the record, I don't owe anyone on this site an explanation on my finances and personal situation -- the specific question I asked does not require me to justify asking for a tuition break. Nonetheless, I would like to make a few points.
Firstly, as most people are well aware (and as was made amply clear in the comments to the previous post) a full-tuition payer pays not only the tuition for his/her kid/s, but also helps to subsidize the cost of someone else. If one asks for a break down to the true cost of educating one's child, they are not "taking charity;" they are merely asking to be excused from *giving* to that particular charity. Not nice? Maybe -- but it's still not actually taking charity money.
That being said, I don't know what the true cost of educating my kid is. Neither, for that matter, do I think that anyone outside of the financial office of a school. Is my request beyond that point? To be fair, I don't know -- but if it is, it's probably not much beyond that.
For those that suggested that I don't have a right to go to school, allow me to tell you a little story.
About ten years ago, I was working in customer service. At that time, I was a young father of three earning less than $25,000 a year. Realizing that I needed to change my financial life (because very few families of five can get by on less than $25K a year), I took a year and spent about $3,000 to enroll in a certificate program in computer programming. Yes, I was receiving tuition breaks at the time (as you can imagine with that salary), but I chose to make the investment in my future. Thanks to that investment, not only do I have a much better salary now, but I have been able to pay more to my kids' schools. Yes, I suppose you could make the case that I should have given the money to the schools, but as it turns out, the schools have benefited far more than the $3,000 I spent.
As for my belongings, I will make the following two comments:
The megillah does belong to me. I won it in a Chinese Auction about fifteen years ago. I get extensive use out of it. I don't think that the money I spent on the auction fifteen years ago has any relevance to the here and now.
The camera *was* purchased by me a few years ago. Yes, it was a luxury, but a rather rare one. I'm willing to accept some criticism from those who say I shouldn't have bought it -- but not from those who say that I shouldn't spend time with it now that I have it.
Those people who would begrudge me the time I spend shooting pictures, all I can really say is "get a life." I don't have to justify to you (or anyone else) if I spend a few minutes doing something I enjoy. The fact of the matter is that we all need diversions -- for me, it happens to be photography. Everyone needs to have some enjoyment in life and everyone is entitled (within reason) to pursue his/her hobbies. I don't think the few minutes or so that I spend shooting pictures is harming anyone. If you disagree, then so be it - but I don't have to justify it to you.
I thank all those who stood up in my defense. I also thank those participated in a civil manner - even if they were critical of me. For those who chose to attack, well, I suppose there's nothing I can say that will make you happy anyway.
I'm not going to allow comments on this post either. If you want to discuss the original issue or this post, feel free to email me. I can't promise I'll respond to everyone (I am fairly busy), but if you're willing to discuss things civilly, I'll try to respond.