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Gyna Jean-Pierre

CSMS Magazine staff writer

Believe it or not, summer is just a heartbeat away. Unlike previous summers, this one might be as sober as we can imagine. In just a few weeks, schools will be closed, children will be grounded at home, and the quest for an unforgettable vacation will be felt tremendously. With an economy so dire, going out on vacation could be a major undertaking if one wants to live within his means. This year, like last year, forget about Europe. The dollar is too weak against the Euro. As soon as you touch a European airport, you’re already at a lost.  North America seems more attractive, especially if one wants to go to Canada. The US dollar is stronger than the Canadian dollar. The same thing can be applied to the Caribbean. But can we go?

            To go on vacation requires a set of things. First, one would need to make sure that he or she can afford it. It is pretty easy to be swayed by time-share companies’ sweet deals, and this year the deals are sweeter. But when only one income is making its way to the family’s basket and the children’s reopening school money is yet to be assured, foolishness would the name if one wants to turn his back on his primary obligations just to go have fun else.

Second, will there really be fun if at every minute one is being reminded of the reality that awaits him once he returns home. Getting away from it all feels good, but it is always short-lived. Fiscal responsibility is fundamental in strengthening a family foundation. The last thing one wants to do is to look haggard or psychologically bruised in the eyes of his children. Hard times necessitate tough decisions. The children may not like them, but they should always be reminded of the bottom line, and the reminder MUST be relentless. In times of uncertainty, austerity measures cannot be overlooked. One might be lucky for he still has the cash to spend, a roof over his head and a cozy place to shelter his children. That is just enough to ride this economic downturn.

Third, one needs to be reminded that despite all the belt-tightening and the worrisome about an unsettled tomorrow, he is not alone. In fact, he may be better off than thousands out there whose homes are on the verge of being repossessed—those who are currently jobless and who roam their cities aimlessly in search of finding something—whatever is possible to bring food on the table.

Finally, if one can’t go on vacation this summer, there is no need to feel bad. Besides, there is a number of activities right here at home that one can take advantage of. In all major cities, summer programs are plentiful, and these programs can be obtained through the school facilities. Summer camps, sport tournaments, swimming lessons are all activities designed to make one’s summer an enjoyable one. Book clubs for parents and children can be a delightful alternative. As a matter of fact, CSMS Magazine publishes this week its summer reading list. Be on the lookout for it. Don’t let your children force your hands and, with it, your pocket. Remember, we’re older and wiser; and our wisdom should be our children’s guiding light. Just hold tight, next year’s summer might be better.

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