One of my biggest time-wasters on Facebook is one of those notorious mom groups. I like this mom group. It’s faith-based and well have similar understandings on a few essentials. There is comradery.
Which is why I am so angry at something that happened to the child of one of the ladies. Despite tight finances, she gave in to her son’s wishes to throw him a nice big birthday party and invited the entire class.
Yes, it’s one of those stories. No one showed up.
The post was full of sorrow, commiseration, and desires to send that little boy something birthday goodness. Ah, comradery!
But as I read through the posts, I noticed a few references and experiences that built up into a rather big issue:
School policies requiring birthday kids to invite the entire class.
Now, I don’t know if this mom’s kid’s school had such a policy, but other ladies shared horrible experiences where, yes, they were required to invite the entire class.
And I don’t get it.
Oh, to some extent, I do. If you’re going to invite a significant majority of the class, be classy and invite everyone. If you’re going to invite a significant majority of one gender, be classy and invite the entire gender. It just seems polite.
But as a school policy? That’s overstepping in a big way.
Why do schools do this? The obvious thing is to a) teach good social skills and kindness and promote inclusion and b)save headaches from crying kids and angry parents.
Which is why the aforementioned idea of if you’re going to invite most, just invite all seems to me like an important social grace, but nothing that should require a typed policy.
Here are some of the downfalls of such policies I gathered from said post:
- Parents can’t always afford big parties that accommodate an entire class.
- The most convenient and most impressive big parties are always at some big expensive party place. This is multi-faceted in problems. Kids are more likely to want to go to the Fun Place and parents are more likely to feel comfortable taking their kid to the Fun Place. Better with employees keeping an eye out than at some strangers’ house, right? (The Free-Range parent in me hates this idea.)
- While getting along is a fine goal, parents and kids don’t want to be pressured to invite kids were lies a truly toxic relationship.
- Invitees’ parents don’t always want to waste two hours taking their kids to some person’s house they don’t know.
- The Obligatory Invite (Young Billy has no idea who Sandra in his class is) is rather awkward. Our kids barely know each other despite being in the same class for three years. Thanks but no thanks.
An interweb search of school policies suggested policies have a spectrum. On one end might be a recommendation to clandestinely pass out invites if you’re only inviting a few. Closer to the other end is the dreaded policy of, if you’re passing out invitations, invite everyone. I even found a few testimonials of if you’re flat-out having a birthday party, you must invite the entire class.
So, what, if we have a party with two kids down the street plus the grandparents, we will be penalized by the school’s secret police?
Clearly, there are reports of schools way overstepping their bounds when it comes to acknowledging a child’s new year of life.
Perhaps it’s not even school policy. Perhaps it’s this new mentality that we have to invite everyone, whether to be kind, impressive, loving, whatever. And perhaps that giant birthday party of screaming classmates does happen now and then with all of its childhood awesomeness. Sure, inviting the whole class does help solve the problem of a kid getting left out.
But now in accordance with those horrible tales of a kid not invited to a party, we now have stories of parties in overdrive, where the cost of inviting the whole class can mean no party at all.