January 5, 2010

That one was definitely a first.

Last night for Family Home Evening, we took the kids down to the museum to see the big nativity and gingerbread house exhibit.

The kids were having a ball, at first. But by the time we made it up to the upper level, they were getting a little antsy, especially since they knew the children's playroom was on that floor. So they zoomed through the displays and then off to the playroom.

As the kids were running around, having fun, a museum worker, an older man, watched them for a while, smiling.

Finally, he turned to me and said, "That's quite a family you got there."

I, of course, smiled and replied that they were indeed busy, but fun.

After a brief pause, he turned to me, put his hand to his mouth as though he were passing on a great secret and asked, "How are you going to send them all to college?"

I confess I was a bit taken back. First of all, it's the first time anyone has ever asked me that. It wasn't the usual; you sure have your hands full. And second, it seemed as though he were accusing me of being irresponsible and outright foolish for having "so many kids". It wasn't necessarily what he said as it was the way he said it.

Maybe he wasn't. Perhaps he was speaking from a lifetime of experiences that I have yet to understand. Maybe it was just my mommy instincts kicking in. Still, it surprised me that he was actually standing there expecting an answer from me.

I didn't think it was any of his business. At any rate, I just smiled and replied, "We start saving now."

Not the most brilliant comeback but it was all I could think of to say in the moment.

While we are most certainly preparing for our children's futures, it's their immediate welfare that concerns me the most right now.

The whole drive home was spent trying to convince Jacob that licking the bottom of his shoe wasn't the best or most sanitary of ideas.

He didn't listen too well.

Boys really can be gross you know.

15 super cool people speak:

Brittney said...

That picture is super cute! Some people can't keep their noses out of other people's business. But maybe he just thought he was helping you consider something you hadn't already thought about.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

True. And you're probably right. But believe me, its definietly something we think about and plan for.
P.S. I just have to say again that I can't believe you are about due. You are so small!!

Brittney said...

oh yes.. I didn't mean to imply that you haven't thought about it because unlike the old man, I know the kind of financially minded people you are.

Though I have to say when I think about my kids' college education, I think some of the financial responsibility should be on them so they appreciate it more.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

LOL! I know. I didn't mean to imply what you think I was thinking you were implying. HAHA!
Gotta love trying to write what you mean.

But I totally agree with you. I paid for college all by myself. Then, when I finally ran out of tuition money, I had a back-up money account that my grandfather had set up for me. It saved me for two semesters.
But everything else, housing, food, etc., I paid for myself with the money I made while working and going to school.

Brittney said...

Well then I guess the next time someone asks you that question you can confidently say, "Well they'll just have to pay for it on their own like I did! Duh!" :)

Heidi said...

I'm still surprised that in a highly LDS-populated area there are still people surprised by "large" families. It's a sad, sad thing.

My response to the man would have been something that my parents probably gave: "They're going to pay their own way!" And you've got it perfectly right--their immediate (physical, spiritual, emotional) welfare is what matters. Go you!

College indeed....

Jamie said...

I come from a family of 7 kids, My older siblings are twins boy and girl. the girl put herself through college and is now a RN her twin put himself through college and is an orthopedic surgen, weird thing is most Dr's have thousands in debt, him and his wife have none. The lord watches out for people. I put myself through the college (even though I haven't yet finished) I did it. Just like in highschool I was proud for doing something myself, I got good grades, scholarships for ME not for my parents. EVEN if I had the money for my three children for school, you can bet that I would still make them work and get through school themselves. Maybe I am mean, but for me my parents helped me grow up by taking care of myself and made me ready for marriage. Don't let people put you down... remember your advice to me, it only hurts if you let it ;)

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Too true Jamie. And in my family of 8 kids, we too have paid our way through college and plan to have our kids do the same. Its good for the soul. =)
I guess I was just so surprised I didn't think to state it.

E said...

I have had that same question twice and I only have 3 right now!! You are an inspiration!

Sarah said...

That's the first one I've heard that sounds bona fide rude. I would have been tempted to say something like "I don't expect them to go to college. They're none too bright, poor kids." - but only if the kids weren't anywhere around to hear it. In reality, I would have said "Did you mean to say that?" Outright rudeness deserves to be held up to the light.

And I'm of the 'I raise my kids well so that if they want to go to college, they can get through it on their own' camp, also. I will love helping if I can, but I'm not going to tear my hair out if I can't pay their way.

Mama Smith said...

After reading all the comments from each of you young women...I find you are all very "common sense" individuals...Paying your own way through life...has GREAT dividends...for the REST OF YOUR LIFE! STRONG "Character" traits of WORK ETHICS...SELF-SUFFICIENCY...FAITH that God will help you find a way to achieve your goals in life...President Hinckley's counsel was to "get an education"...Now, it takes a great deal of SPUNK...to tackle that in today's economy! YOU GO...dear young women...you all seem to have your "heads" screwed on marvelously well...However, one word of "advice"...Have a "savings" for EACH of your children...even if all you can do is put $5.00 a month into it. For your daughters, it could go towards a future "wedding" - education or even a mission. As for your sons, "missions" are "expensive" - Takes $10,000 to send ONE son on a mission...TODAY...Planning for the "future" is beginning "today"...in every aspect of their lives..."spiritually", "emotionally", and yes..."financially"...Teaching them HOW TO HANDLE MONEY...is SERIOUS...When the prophets are seeing the Saints in SERIOUS DEBT...and NOT LIVING WITHIN their incomes...well...teach your children while they are YOUNG...and they will not "depart" from it...(generally) (smile)

Mama Smith said...

Before you wonder WHY I suggested a "savings" in each of your children's names...when we have been discussing having them "pay their own way"...well, there are times...when a little "additional" help, now and then...is so greatly appreciated...during times of struggle. I know...whenever Garvin and I got a "check" here and there from a parent or grandparent...it was an answer to PRAYER! If anything, it can be a "dowry"...on their "wedding" day...(smile)

Heidi said...

With my 6 brothers, my parents always said "You pay for college, we'll pay for the mission." They never said what we girls would get. :-) But they definitely taught us about savings. I began working as a 5-year old, and my "income" was tithing first, then savings, and a teeny bit for spending. When times got rough, it was nice that we all came together as a family and worked harder so that what would have gone to savings was able to pay for boys on missions so parents could handle the other financial matters. Yet our individual savings were never touched.

Ten years later, I'm still trying to decide if I should regret my life-changing, eye-opening "senior trip" which completely depleted my savings--savings that would have covered at least half (if not more) of my college expenses.

Svedi Pie said...

I'm going to be the devil's advocate here and give the older gentlemen the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was the way it was described in the post but it didn't sound rude to me at all, just him thinking out loud. The older man obviously enjoyed watching Serene's kids, he was smiling at them. And college tuition is something we all hear these days. (He could have recently been talking with his kids about how money will come to pay for his grandkids college tuition and then ran into Serene's family). He probably just wanted to feel a little connected to such an adorable family, which he obviously enjoyed watching them play.

Most of us have has those experiences when people asked us questions that take us aback for a min or two, but most of the time the person has good intentions at heart.

Don't mean to offend anyway with that comment and apologies if I do, like I sad just had to play the devil's advocate.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Don't feel bad about stating your opinion! You could very well be exactly right,
Even I'm not sure how he meant it. I guess it was just the whole, put his hand to his mouth, lower his voice and say it out of the corner of his mouth that threw me.
But, who knows! Maybe he was just trying to be wise. And you are right, he did smile at the kids, not scowl.

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