The Birthday Party
By Barrington H. Brennen, February 17,
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Most parents adore their little children and love
to show to the world how much they love them. One way parents honor their
children and demonstrate their love is by having birthday parties. While
having a birthday party can be a wonderful idea and very important in a
child’s life, it is more often a showcase for the parents’ pride than a
celebration of a birthday. That’s not good.
Another great dilemma is
parents having birthday parties at school for their children. This should
not be allowed, at least not the way it is done in most schools today. Many
parents really believe that this is a wonderful way of really pouring their
love on their children. When a classroom teacher allows one parent to bring
a birthday cake and other party trinkets to school to celebrate a child’s
birthday, it is setting up that child to become self-centered and
“pig-headed.” The problem with classroom parents’ sponsored birthday
parties is that not every parent has the means or talents to do what other
parents did for their children. Thus it becomes a competition between
parents more than a celebration of a birthday. And then, oh how children
can boast and “show off”!
A SAD DAY
I remember many years ago a parent, with good
intentions, requested to celebrate her son’s fifth birthday in his school’s
classroom. The teacher allowed the party to take place. I watched as the
parent brought a giant birthday cake and two smaller cakes, sandwiches,
candies, cookies, balloons and decorations for the class. That parent even
bought a little gift for each child. It was a fun and happy time for the
entire class. For days and weeks after the party all seemed to go well as
the little ones talked
not be allowed to plan birthday parties for their children
in school. This should be a personal affair at home.
Parent-initiated birthday parties in school are a hornet’s
nest of ill feelings or self-centered, borderline
and laughed about the birthday party. Then
another student’s birthday came. The little girl asked her mother if she
could have a birthday party in her classroom at school. Her mother said
yes, “that will be wonderful.” The day came and the mother brought to
class what she could afford. It was a small cake, homemade lemonade, cheap
paper cups and napkins, not even paper plates. The children ate the small,
thick layered, rich cake, sang the happy birthday song, and the party was
over. The day after the party the boasting and shaming began among the
little “innocent bundles of joy.” “My party was better than yours,” said
the student of the first party. “That’s not true,” responded the second
child with the small birthday party. The little dialogue even led to tears
and the teacher had to console the student.
BAN OR STANDARDIZE
Birthday parties in a school classroom should be
banned or at least standardized. Standardization of birthday parties would
mean that the school administration establish celebration guidelines. Here
are some suggested guidelines for schools:
Birthday parties are to be celebrated monthly.
Teachers alone are responsible for organizing birthday parties.
the school sees fit to allow parents to contribute to birthday parties,
they too should follow general guidelines; i.e., parents can only bring
a certain cake size or cup cakes, etc.. No parent should dictate the
size of the party, activities, or decorations during the party.
time and length of the party should also be standardized.
Parents should not be allowed to plan birthday
parties for their children in school. This should be a personal affair at
Parent-initiated birthday parties in school are a
hornet’s nest of ill feelings or self-centered, borderline narcissistic
behavior. No two parents can do the same thing for their child’s
birthday. It becomes then a competition and a pride-building occasion for
the parent more than a celebration of the child’s birthday. The child is
caught in the middle of this stinging, self-centered behavior and has a
greater risk of growing up with a grandiose personality as though the world
is centered on him or her.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EXPERIENCE
The education process should be an equal
opportunity experience. At no time should parents be allowed to use the
school to showcase their own financial or political power. The classroom is
to be an equalizing chamber for students from all the economic categories of
the society. When a student walks in to a classroom, he should feel
comfortable knowing that the teacher will treat all students alike.
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