Love the giver more than the gift.
— Brigham Young
An article in today’s newspaper, and an unrelated (but similar) topic on the car radio this morning, has prompted me to write this blog post now (when I really should be working on my novel … but some things just need to be responded to.)
The newspaper article was titled: 3 reasons kids should never open gifts during their birthday party. It yapped on about:
♦ making other kids feel bad (perhaps because they weren’t getting the gifts, or because the birthday child was getting something they had been denied, or maybe because their gift wasn’t as good/big/special … whatever)
♦ putting the focus on the presents (rather than the party itself and the importance of time spent making memories with friends)
♦ putting unnecessary pressure on kids (to say thank you to everyone and to express their joy at each gift).
All valid(ish) points but they seem very similar to the new trend of ensuring every child gets a gift in pass-the-parcel and the birthday child gets the biggest one at the end.
Taking away the social skills aspect of birthday parties is doing nothing more than growing a society of entitled, non-resilient and self-centred adults.
When my two children were of the ‘birthday party’ age, I believe I could count on one hand the number of times gifts were opened at the party. (Other parties, mind you, not the ones we hosted.)
It used to shit me something chronic.
We would spend a significant amount of time purchasing the gift, and a lot of thought went into selecting the right gift for the recipient — only to have it tossed on a pile of other unwrapped gifts and never referred to again.
I think it was the ‘never referred to again’ part that shitted me the most. I was brought up, as were my children, to acknowledge the gift-giver. I was taught to appreciate the gift and to say thank you — even if I hated it, or had already received the exact same item. My children are expected to do the same; so when they give a gift and all they get in return is a muttered ‘thanks’, and then the present isn’t even opened — well, it grates a bit. A lot.
It takes less than half an hour to open a pile of presents, and to express thanks to each giver. And it is a brilliant opportunity to practise the expression of appreciation, if not for the gift itself, at least for the thought. There is too little of that in society, among adults, these days.
It’s also a good opportunity for the rest of the kids to realise they are not always going to be the centre of attention, or the winner, or the most appreciated of the bunch. Resilience, people, and less of the self-centred-ness that dominates our society.
As for the radio segment — I only caught the tail-end, but it appears they were talking about a woman who had blogged (or Facebook-ed) her disappointment at the size of the engagement ring she had received from her fiancée. It was too small apparently.
You’re kidding me?? My advice to the fiancée? Ditch her … put your hand out, ask for the ring back, and give it to someone later who actually appreciates the giver!
And my advice to the selfish, greedy woman? Oh my god!!! Just say thank you and be grateful he thought enough of you to buy you a ring at all. Count yourself lucky you have someone who loves you.
I was pleased to hear the majority of the callers felt the same way.
Maybe there is hope for our society yet.