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?