Monday, January 25, 2010



We spent Sunday with friends Melanie and Santiago. We walked to the farmers market then hung out and watched the football playoffs. Obviously the playoffs were not my idea. My biggest claim to sports fan-ship is that sometimes I can't find a clean hoodie and I take Tami's A's hoodie when I go out for a walk. She is a life long A's baseball fan and season ticket holder and is already planning the days when she will take Enzo to the games. Me, I've been to a few with her. I forget which movie it was from but there was a scene where the girl calls the guy on something he had said to her and he replies "Aw, baby! That was just pillow talk!" Sometimes you do things just to get the girl. I don't go to games any more, not often anyway. On the other hand, Tami has sworn off going to aircraft museums with me since our engagement (at least I waited until marriage to stop going to the A's games!). She still goes to art museums with me and that's something certain friends will never again do after a first experience. Apparently I take a while. Matt, at least we got the motorcycle ride to and from San Francisco.

The conversation with Melanie and Santiago hit on several interesting parenting points. We talked about supporting children when they wanted to do things that were "weird" and allowing or disallowing haircuts like mullets, pony tails and mohawks. For the record, I'm for everything the kid wants to do if he's experimenting in a healthy way. Especially with hair, it's a personal tapestry to be played with and grows back. We also talked about supporting children in college and this is something I have been thinking about for days. Santiago proposed that children should support themselves as adults. Tami suggested that children, supported by parents, should still finance their own way through college. Melanie and I agreed that it is the parents responsibility to cover college costs if needed and if possible.

We talked a bit about this and I am reminded of two friends, Pat and Sam, who are twins and went to an all boys private high school. Years ago I asked them separately what they thought of the experience. Pat thought it was a great experience, the greatest experiences possible for him at that point in his life. Sam, however, thought it was a horrible torture to separate boys form girls unnecessarily and would never do the same injustice to a child of his. And I think, we experience good or bad from the same circumstances. Then, we go on to make decisions for others based on our experiences not possibly knowing what is best for another who is not exactly like us in exactly the same situation. Tami financed her own college experience and supports the idea. Santiago became responsible for himself early by necessity and supports the idea. Melanie and I went back to our parents at a point and were given financial, and other, support without strings attached and we now support that idea. All four of us today are successful, college educated professionals and our various paths have worked out well for each of us. Were we all different and just lucky enough to have found exactly the support that we individually needed in life? Or, are we all the same and only feel that our story exemplifies a good path because it worked for us when any of the paths would have worked for each of us?

Well, in case we will need it, Tami and I have begun saving. It started with cousins Jenny and Anthony giving Enzo $100. Other gifts have him up to $190 now so we started his college fund. We calculated that we can currently contribute $20 each month to this savings and stock fund. At the moment, Enzo has two shares of Berkshire Hathaway class B stock and some cash. I quickly realized that at the rate of $20 per month, after 18 years and assuming that we manage his investments well enough to at least match inflation, Enzo will be able to go to 1 semester of college at a local state university. One semester! At this rate Enzo will get a little of all of our philosophies on funding a child's college education. There are 8 semesters in an efficient college experience like Tami enjoyed, quite a few more in the meandering 7 year experience that I enjoyed and that does not count the graduate school work we both have enjoyed. We're both the better for what we have seen but the point here is that we will need to put away $160 per month to be sure we've got four years at the state university covered. Of course, he may take the money to invest in a business or it may only equal a part of one semester's tuition at a certain private college. Who knows?

I do know that math, for all it's certainty, provides an awful lot of variables when applied to life. In the mean time, Tami and I will make sure there are at least $20 each month waiting to grow and waiting to support Enzo in his endeavors.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking more about the dollar amounts here. Rounding down, a 4 year state college tuition, books and supplies will cost $5 per day for every year of my son's life until he starts college. That's an interesting way to think about it. $5 each day!