Pine Crest School. Everyone (definitely not everyone) wants to send their children to Pine Crest. Some of my dearest friends (Alexandra from Straight Up and Dirty) attended Pine Crest. Actually, I’d say at least five, bordering on six depending on how you define “dearest,” of my girlfriends attended Pine Crest. The thing about private schools like Pine Crest is that kids never go there; they attend.
I know a woman. Her son was recently accepted to Pine Crest. I’ve heard this news from other women. I’ve heard that it’s only a matter of time until I hear it from her, when she thrusts the news up to my eyelids. This is very juvenile of me, but I’m already equipping myself with a response.
“That’s great. I hear they’ll pretty much accept anyone who’s willing to throw twenty-thousand dollars at a problem. Good for them. Good for him. Good for you.”
That’s just petty, a response anchored in jealousy. Only, I’m really not jealous. Do I wish I could afford to send both my kids to private schools and pay for their college years in full, of course. Would I even if I could afford it? I don’t know.
When affronted by this woman, I need a way to back her up. To keep her out of face. Why does it bother me so much? She’s not being malicious. She’s not mean-spirited. I want her to stop trying so hard to be important. Her telling people that her child got accepted to Pine Crest makes her feel important. I want her to know that she needs to read a self-help book and work on her self-esteem. It’s a book I more often than not find that I too need to read.
Still, something isn’t sitting right with me, and I don’t like how much I… I don’t even know how to qualify it. I just know that this feeling isn’t one with which I feel comfortable. I guess it’s her boasting that just makes me want to smack her, despite knowing her motivations behind doing so, despite knowing how insecure she is. I just wish I didn’t feel this.
What I want for my children is a sense of worldliness, the kind that usually only comes with travel. And that’s how I’d like to spend my money, on travel, taking my children on an African safari to witness a (natural – circle of life) kill. To walk the streets of different cities where they speak different languages. I don’t want them in a school filled with same, where there’s a sense of entitlement. And that’s Boca. People “show.”
Pull into the parking lot of B’Nai Israel in a Bently or a Rolls Royce, “with the attitude to match” I’ve heard. In New York City, a couple “worth” more would show up to school like everyone else. Backpack’s loaded, walk-in, be safe, have fun, done. Here it’s a production, an outing, with traffic directors and notes home reminding parents to turn off their cell phones and pay attention (you almost hit a kid for crying out loud).
Phil asked me the other day, “Why is it so wrong to shelter your children?”
“Like, what’s so wrong,” he asked in earnest, “with not being exposed to homelessness and poverty and crime?”
I thought about it. It’s the kind of question we don’t ask because we take diversity as a given, a good thing, a privilege and perspectives. Still, it made me think.
When I was in Hebrew school, our teacher, Mrs. Weiner asked us what we’d do if we heard screams—violent, shrill screams—coming from just next door. We’d call the police, investigate, make it our priority to make it stop. Right whatever’s wrong. “Why is it,” she asked the class, “that when it’s not happening in our own backyards, we allow ourselves to care less?” Out of sight, out of mind. You have your problems, I have mine. The urgency and care isn’t as immediate when we’re not experiencing it ourselves. Why is it important to care about the injustices happening elsewhere, why is it crucial to expose children to other ways of life? Not to be sheltered? Look at royalty, groomed to rule a country in which they’ve never really lived. For me, the answer is compassion and appreciation. Being thankful for our blessings, knowing (and truly believing and feeling) that more doesn’t mean better.
Why then, if this were true, wouldn’t I send my children to a poverty-stricken school? They’d learn that lesson early on, for sure. We want “the best” for our children, to give them every opportunity, an education they can learn and earn with their hands and senses. Not from books and lectures but in an environment that nurtures creativity, a patient environment, all because we don’t want our children to fall behind, out of the running, for them to be limited by something we did, something in our control and within our means to change. Because our children are up against the rest of the world, it’s why we so much want to give it to them. Only, I’m not buying that. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a competitive spirit, but I don’t see their world in comparisons, in a rat race, for a gold star or trophy wife. “Because our children are up against the world” is bullshit. They do not experience enough of the world.
Giving my children the world, at least in part, means not always giving them the world. For now, it means exposing them to that world, equipping them with skills and fundamentals, exposure and access in a nurturing, cozy, safe environment. My next challenge, as they move on to kindergarten, is deciding where we’ll find that world.
Oh, and for those expecting the price of Pine Crest… per child…
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten (full day)