With the beginning of the school year, we can again hear complaints about how expensive textbooks and school supplies are. And even more so this year, in which many families are suffering from the consequences of the crisis. A good education involves teaching how to turn problems into opportunities. And the crisis can be a good opportunity to educate children on sobriety.

   Making them do without superfluous expenses does not mean loving them any less—and under the current circumstances it is a duty of justice. It is not necessary to buy a paper notebook with many pages for each school subject—surely enough, those from last year still have 90% blank pages. Neither are collections of pens, markers, and a thousand color pencils essential. If children need to call home, they can use the school phones, so they do not need a cell phone; apart from saving quite a lot of money, they won’t waste time exchanging useless messages. Sneakers and sports clothes need not be from brands that cost big money simply to prevent them from feeling inferior to the others. What is certainly useful is to buy plastic covers for textbooks so that they may be used by others later on. Math is taught at school; the virtue of sobriety is learnt at home.

Federico Gómez

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