For those of you that do not recognize these brand labels, consider yourself extremely fortunate.
Having attended Shulamis High School years ago which was one of the only Brooklyn schools that did not have a school uniform, I always wondered why the Bais Yaakov’s all made their students wear school uniforms. Was it a look the schools were looking for? Was it tzniut related? I understood that certain children would always be wearing nicer clothing than others because their parents had money, but that is life. If you want every kid to dress the same, walk the same, talk the same and act the same, then move to communist China.
Parents that have been blessed with wealth certainly have every right to spend it how they see fit, and if they choose to purchase Juicy pajamas for their daughter for $150, kol hakavod. It is their money. Quite frankly it is none of my business and I do not resent it in any way.
My issue however is what has been going on recently with both girls AND BOYS alike as far as brand name clothing is concerned. Many of us do not realize that many sixth and seventh grade girls are going to school with $175 knapsacks. Sweatshirts that run $75 a piece, and can’t be worn more than once a month. I recall being in school and wearing the same pair of school shoes all winter. Now the girls need their Ugg boots ($110), and three pairs of shoes.
Many high school boys are now wearing ties that I am told run upwards of $150. That is correct…..$150. Their glasses (and g-d forbid you should only have one pair) are all designer names many of which I have never ever heard of. Belts can run over $200 and yet somehow so many of these yeshiva bochurim have them.
I know that many of you are going to comment that you need to learn to be mechanech your kids and learn to say NO. I know all about it. A few months ago YWN posted an article (HERE) about the cost of seminary and most of the comments (ludicrous in my opinion) were how this parent didn’t understand how to say no. My guess is that many (not all) of these comments came from people who are not in the “parsha”.
We need to understand the ENOURMOUS pressure that is put on these kids in school by their friends and classmates. It is easy to sit back and be an armchair NO NO NO parent. If I had a daughter… I would tell my son… If you are able to and it doesn’t backfire, great. Consider yourself very lucky. But many of us do not want our children to be outcasts and want our children to be happy. With all that is going on with children at risk today, the number one priority you hear from the people that deal with this is to make sure your children are happy.
I don’t have a good answer to the problem and while I am inclined to say no, and my gut tells me to say no, it breaks my heart to see unhappy children.
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The views expressed in this column reflect the opinions of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Yeshiva World News LLC. These individual opinions are also in no way meant as a P’sak Halacha or Hashkafa. As with all matters, be sure to consult with a Rov with all questions.