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Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Touchy Topic Tuesday: School Regulated Birthday Parties???

Some Things To Talk About Before We Get Going:

1. Thank you to A Belle And A Bean for participating in my FIRST MEME yesterday!!! Unfortunately, the two of us is as successful as it got today- that's okay- but don't forget to join me next Monday for Brag & Blab Mondays!!!

2. It's a new month and I HAVE to defend my title! Please vote for my blog on Top Mommy Blogs by clicking on the button on my left sidebar- that's all you have to do- just click.

3. Last but not least, don't forget to vote for May's book club book on the right sidebar. This month, we are reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

4. I apologize profusely. My camera lens is all wonky right now, and I'm not sure when we're going to be able to have it fixed. I have a few prospects. But for now, it's either old pictures or...well, old pictures. Sorry. You'll actually have to READ my blog for now. ~Wink~

Welcome to Touchy Topic Tuesdays:

School Regulated Birthday Parties

Recently, I enrolled Lilly in the local kindergarten, and received paper after paper after paper regarding rules, regulations, privacy practices, lists about what to do in an emergency, and a waiver I'm supposed to sign saying that I understand that if my child is to have a birthday party involving anyone in the class, the whole class has to be invited.

That means, if I invite one of the girls in the class, i have to invite all the girls. If I invite one boy in the class, I have to invite all the boys.

To me, this is one of the most ludicrous things I've ever heard in my life.

Okay. I understand to a small degree. A child passing out invitations in a classroom where they might not give an invite to everyone can be controversial in and of itself. No one wants to feel left out. I get it. And in class party situations, like Valentines day, I agree. All children should be required to bring a valentine for all other children. And I can see the waiver asking me not to pass out invitations at school so as to spare the feelings of a child who was not invited, and to request that a parent mail the invites instead. But no one should be required to invite someone to their birthday that they don't want to be there.

Think about this for a moment though. The average public school class contains between 29 to 35 students. There is no way in HECK (I'm a Mormon, remember? We don't say Hell.) I'm going to have a party at my home to hold that many children, nor am I going to rent a place big enough to hold them. When we have a birthday party for one of my children, it will be because they want to invite several close friends. That doesn't necessarily mean an entire class full of kids. (It also doesn't necessarily mean NOT an entire class full of kids.)

As a child, most of my birthdays were spent with family, but I did have a handful of birthday parties, most of which included 4 or 5 of my closest friends from school or the neighborhood. One party, when I was 8, i believe I had as many as 10 friends to, but that was pretty big for me.

The dilemma here is this: In school, I had a lot of friends, but I also had enemies. I mean, nothing like Batman vs. The Joker or anything, but girls who were the antagonists in the story of my life.

In second grade, there was this girl named Kirsten who purposely stole every friend I ever had, and then would leave me out of all their play.

In third grade, this girl Angie, who looked a lot like one of the Chipettes, and sounded like one too, continually stole my crayons, markers, gloves, the Doodle Bear i got for Christmas, and other things out of my backpack. Three of my best friends that year were boys- but one boy, Bradley (who later became one of my best buds) filled my gloves or hat with snow between each recess so that it was either freezing cold or soaking wet when i put them on again. Plus, there was a group of 3 girls who continually taunted me because they saw me holding hands with this boy, Matt once.

In fourth grade, there was a girl, Liz, a GIANT compared to me- she was of Samoan descent and I was this skinny, short little slip of an impish girl that barely came to above her waist. She called me Norfin Troll because I had so much thick hair. She tackled me to the ground in the lunch line once because I was wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey, and she said I wasn't allowed to.

Fifth grade, a girl named Alicia would lean over and put her elbow on my paper so that I couldn't write on it. Mature. I know. Even for an 11 year old. Her last name was Hansen- the same as mine, and so we always were next to each other as the teachers did everything alphabetically.

In sixth grade, I had to change tracks from D to A, and ended up miserable with a bunch of girls who were rich, well dressed, snobby and refused to recognize that I was there at all.

In all grades I was well aware of the many parties i was not invited to.

However, there were also several per year that I WAS invited to, and rarely felt bad that I didn't get to go to a party of a person who didn't like me.

Likewise, as charismatic and outgoing and accepting of everyone as Lilly is, I am sure she's going to have best friends. I am also sure that she is going to have kids that don't like her all that much, or that she doesn't like. Kids are cruel, and there are no exceptions. Someone, somewhere is going to make fun of her and hurt her feelings, and proverbially kick her while she's down.

And that school is dreaming if they think that, in the case of Lilly (or any of my children) having an antagonist in their life, I'm going to invite someone to their birthday- a day that is supposed to be happy, and comfortable, full of people who they love and who love them- they're crazy if they think I'm going to invite someone to that who makes my child feel inadequate, hurt, or anxious every school day. Why in the world do they think i would invite that feeling into my daughter's life at home?

Now, I can absolutely understand certain points of this. Never would I DREAM of inviting a whole class full of kids and leave out a single one or two students. If it were such a party that it came to that, and all the class was invited, then yes, even the mean girls/boys would be invited.

I'm also not dumb enough to think that all parents are like me and think this logically. I know that the school is doing what they can to protect those one or two students that might not get invited to that birthday party.

So then, is posed another question: Is it really such a good idea to shelter our children from any kind of disappointment that might come their way? Are we really doing them any kind of favor by teaching them that life is fair? Not every person gets invited all the time. Not everyone grows up to go to the school they want, or ace every test, or nail every interview. Not everyone is going to like you wherever you go, and it's not okay to be mean to someone and still get the benefits of being a friend. There are going to be teachers who aren't fair, or bosses who are overbearing, and that's something everyone has to learn to deal with.

So, what do you think? Do you think, as I do, that this is a really stupid rule? Furthermore, with the birthday party rule being just the tip of the iceberg, and, admittedly, minor and petty to dwell on in the long term scheme of things, another question is- Do you think it's a good thing for us to shelter our children so much from the 'unfairness' of the world and of people?


Simoney said...

Political correctness gone M-a-a-a-ddd!!! Seriously, I am TOTALLY with you on this one. It's ludicrous. CRAZY!!!
I've never heard of such a thing, and I don't think the school could enforce it. I agree it's fine not to go around handing out invites to people in front of others and rub their noses in the fact that they're not invited??? yeah, that's mean. BUT to go to the other extreme?? Invite the whole class?? Do they ever have birthday parties at that school??
I would never agree to that. Kids DO learn how to handle disappointment especially if it's handled sensitively. And like you said; you go to some parties, you miss out on others. That's how it works.

S.I.F. said...

Insane! What if a parent can only afford to host 3 children. I'm just shocked that any school would think they could enforce this!

Lula Lola said...

How on earth do they plan on enforcing something this crazy. I get not handing out invitations in class. That would be ugly. But,I don't see how they got people on board with legislating their student's birthday parties outside of school. That's nuts!
I wouldn't invite the mean kids either. What kind of party is that for the birthday girl/boy?

Keeslermom said...

This is ridiculous! What are they going to do if you break the rule, take away her birthday? My kids usually choose from one to three friends to go do something fun with. It's not a "party", but a trip to the movies, a craft place, indoor playground, etc. Can you imagine the cost of taking 15 kids, heaven forbid the class had 20 girls?

Like you, I had my fair share of un-friends, and can't even imagine being forced to invite my tormentor to my own birthday party! I would have just not had a birthday party!

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

I'm not sure they CAN enforce it. There are no consequences listed in the event that i 'break' this rule. I think it's just precautionary and probably only to make parents aware that they need to be sensetive to the matter. I purpously blew it out of proportion in the name of Touchy Topic Tuesday, but everything I said is true. I'm not inviting someone into my home who hurts and humiliates my child- even if that person IS another child.

The point that I made at the end, though, I feel very strongly about. I think this is one big reason that todays children are growing up to be so entitled and incompetant. Their lives have been 'fair' up to this point. How are they supposed to handle disappointment or the failure of a plan because they don't qualify when their whole lives have been made up by parents and teachers covering for their short comings?

I mean, there were a lot of times that my parents, while supportive and sensetive to teh issue, said "too bad. That's life. And life is not fair." It's never easy to deal with something that is a terrible dissappointment, even though you've been taught to deal with it gracefully. But everyone has to face that fact of life eventually. When you're 30, mom isn't going to be there to get you a job with a guy from church who lives down the street or smooth over a conflict you had with a friend.

I know there are a lot of people who disagree with my parenting style. I do not baby my kids and I insist that they do a lot of things on their own. If they dont' like doing something, that's just too bad. They'll have to get over it. I'm not into giving them a fasle sense of security. Many people (Again with the forums) judge me and my parenting styles. HOwever, my children are happy, healthy, safe, clean, relatively self seficient at their young ages, smart, and they also know that sometimes they have to work hard because there are consequences if they don't. They have missed out on parties because of their misbehavior, and that broke my heart to do. But it taught them a good lesson.

Maybe a child who isn't invited to a party will learn a valuable lesson. Maybe they'll learn how to be friends with everyone, and not to be mean, but to be compassionate. Then again, it doesn't always come down to that. Maybe there's no meanness involved, they just aren't the best of friends with my child, and that's okay. NO ONE can be EVERYONE'S best friend in the world.

Likewise, if my child wasn't invited to a party, I'd just say "Well, maybe you should be nicer to her instead of calling her names" or, if meanness wasn't the issue, I'd say "Well, remember when YOU had a party and you only invited s0-andso, so and so and so and so??? Maybe they only invited a few friends." Letting your child learn life lessons doesn't mean rubbing salt in the wound. It means teaching them to see a different light. Maybe have an epiphany. Teaching them to be BETTER. (And YES, I DO believe that even young children need to be BETTER. We ALL do. I, MYSELF am still working on being BETTER. There is nothing good about believing that you'll teach your child how to be better LATER. There is a fine line between babyhood and when it's too late.)

Brittanie said...

thats a little crazy! Our K here says if you have a invite for everyone you are welcome to use the kids cubbies, if you aren't inviting everyone then you need to find another way to distribute, I can understand that. But if you are friends with someone outside of school and you want to invite them, they can't make you invite everyone. insane!

bbcd mama said...

That is ridiculous, idiotic and sad. I'm sure some parent caused an uproar with the school board or something, and that's where this all came about. It's like people don't use common sense anymore when they make rules/legislation.

P.S. I will be out of town on Monday, so I'll catch back up with Brag & Blag in a couple weeks.

P.P.S. I'm a Liz, though not Samoan, and I'm from Chicago, so I would NEVER tackle you for wearing a Bulls Jersey. Michael Jordan is a God. :) Hee, hee!

Anonymous said...

What happens if you don't sign the waiver?

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Anonymous- I don't think anything CAN happen. I am not going to sign the waiver, and if we have a party and don't invite everyone and the school comes back at me- they won't have my signature so I never agreed with it. what are they going to do to my 5 year old? Hold her back? Detention? Um, no. Or they'll hear from a lawyer.

I don't really think that it'd get that far. I think they just are trying to make parents aware that it can be sensetive.

Lourie said...

wow! That is insane, crazy, and ridiculous! I think there is way too much coddling these days. I didn't realize this really, until my daughter started the 7th grade last August. It has been the hardest year for her academically and socially. So yeah, I would not be inviting certain people. Poof be gone! i have been dealing with way too much crap lately anyway. Haha. what a stupid rule.

Tanya said...

I bet lots of parents don't follow this rule and have to tell their kids to lie about it, or they have to sneak around - makes what could be a bad situation even worse if you ask me. Why does everything about kids have to be so controlled these days? Kids should be able to invite who they want to their party. And the nasty kids should be given the opportunity to think about why they weren't invited, and perhaps change their behaviour. It's all part of growing up. Protecting your kids from everything sure doesn't give them the life skills they will need later.

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