Please don't take this in the wrong way, because it might sound a bit harsh, but the message needs to get out there. . . . . I'll tell you what isn't fair to the kids: jeopardizing your financial future and, for that matter their financial future, so you can having something you want NOW. I'll tell you what isn't fair:
- Putting your shalom bayit in jeopardy. Money problems do exactly that. Money problems have hurt many a marriage. We pray daily to Hashem to not place us in challenging situations. The best way to shield yourself from financial challenges is to live on a budget and stay out of debt. Want real sanity? Pay off that credit card debt. I guarantee you that an exhausting summer will allow you to sleep at night. Fielding calls from creditors will cause plenty of sleepless nights.
- Reaching retirement age with a mortgage in the hundreds of thousands or reaching the retirement years with debt, debt, debt, placing plenty of pressure on your adult children who fear what will be. One of my readers has commented on the heartache that he and his wife have over their parents' debt. While I have no particular issue with grandparents and parents living under a single roof and working cooperatively together, such is best done out of free choice, not out of lack of choice.
- Not being mechanech children regarding healthy financial management including delayed gratification and living within our means (happily). I've noted that debt is often generational.
- Spending money on the fleeting, while underfunding other opportunities, perhaps opportunities that will have a far more positive effect on a child's future than a summer in camp.
This is a no-brainer. Get out of consumer debt asap. Save for emergencies. And at that point you can consider a camp experience. There are many more summers and many more camp experiences to be had. Ultimately, you will "deny" your children far more if you continue to dig yourself into a hole. And while plenty of people will scream that camp is a necessity and that it is a vital chinuch experience, I will let you in on a secret: plenty of kids don't really enjoy camp. So use the opportunity to have a fun, wonderful experience in your own backyard.