So today when I picked up my daughter from school, she jumped into the car the way she always does and I asked her how school was. “Fine.” This is the same exact answer I get every day. So like always, I strapped on my dorky headband flashlight and start spelunking for some real answers.
For the most part it sounded like a regular school day, until she told me there was one thing that bothered her. Apparently, there was a big party this weekend and like half the grade was invited and the party favor was a sweatshirt with the party girl’s initial on it, and every single person who went to the party was wearing it to school today. I mean seriously, I just reread that sentence and I’m like where the F do we live? A crappy 1980’s movie in Beverly Hills? WTF is this?
If there was one rule my mom taught me when I was a kid, it was “you don’t talk about a party at school because you don’t want to hurt people’s feelings who weren’t invited.” Think about that versus what happens now: “Here’s something to wear to school on Monday morning so you can broadcast that you went to a party that everyone in the grade wasn’t invited to.” I meannnnn. Who acts like that?
That is literally like walking up to all the kids at school who weren’t invited and rubbing it in their face. Would you go to a party on a Saturday night and then wear a sign on Monday that says “I went to so-and-so’s party?” Because that is literally what these kids are doing.
And basically, they’re doing it for two reasons. A. To prove they were invited to something, and/or B. To make other people feel bad they weren’t invited to something.
And here’s the thing. My kid can handle it. Does it hurt her a little? Of course. Duh. But she’s not in a fragile place. She’s self-confident, comes home happy as a clam most days, gets great grades, and she gets invited to SOME of the parties. But even she felt bothered by this.
Which means there are kids who aren’t very self-confident who had to walk around school all day staring at those sweatshirts. And kids who don’t have many friends who had to walk around school all day staring at those sweatshirts. And kids who never get invited to parties who had to walk around school all day staring at those sweatshirts. How do you think that made them feel? I’m gonna guess left out, sad, alone, anxious, different, and all kinds of other bad things.
But I’m guessing the parents who let their kids walk out of the house in those sweatshirts this morning didn’t even consider those other kids. Which is pretty sad. Or they did consider it but didn’t want their own kid to feel left out by not wearing the sweatshirt. They didn’t want their kid to feel left out. Hilariously ironic.
I feel like this generation is being taught to brag about everything they get invited to. They go on TikTok and broadcast the parties they’re at. They broadcast their slumber party pictures on Instagram. They broadcast their Saturday night plans at school on Monday morning by wearing the party favors. It’s like they can’t just feel good about being invited to something and having a blast. They have this selfish need to show it off. And so many parents are just standing by watching it all happen and not teaching their tweens and teens to think about other people. They’re shrugging their shoulders and saying that’s just the way it is these days. Which just seems like a total cop out.
I mean, it’s pretty easy. The next time your kiddo is lucky enough to get invited to a big party or a sleepover or really anything, maybe remind them that everyone wasn’t invited. And if they’re walking out the door Monday morning wearing the party favor, maybe say, “Hey, don’t you think that’s a little mean to the kids who weren’t invited?” I said that to my kid after one, and she went upstairs immediately and changed. She hadn’t thought about it that way. And if she didn’t go change, well, then it might have been time for a little lesson in kindness.
Because yes, the times they are a changin’, but kindness is the same as it’s always been. And being kind means thinking about everyone, especially the people who weren’t invited.
If you liked this, please don’t forget to like and share it! Thank you so much!!!
And this seems like the perfect post to plug my latest book. Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be A-Holes (I’m an Amazon Affiliate so I can earn from qualifying purchases). Because seriously, we don’t want to raise a-holes. At least I don’t. Maybe you do. But I kinda doubt it.