What Are We Doing To Our Future?

"I believe the children are our future..." Mm, sing it Whitney!

So. This past weekend, I took A to her bestest buddy's 5th birthday party. It was Frozen themed and super cute. There were crafts and food, and even an appearance by Elsa, (which we had to miss so don't ask A about it). I am good friends with her buddy's parents, so I was chatting with them a bit when I inquired into something I had noticed upon walking up. There were a lot more kids here than in years previous. I asked my friends about it, wondering if that was just part of kids growing older and going to school or what. They then told me that their daughter's teacher had told them they had to invite everyone in the class.

Here is where the record scratches and the party goes silent.

Umm. Come again?? Yup, they couldn't bring their invites to school (aka the easiest place to bring the invites for distribution since half the time you've never seen the kids' parents outside of school) unless the entire class of around 20 kids received one. They went on to say that it wasn't really a big deal because their daughter probably would have wanted everyone anyway, but it really got me thinking...

What in the world are we teaching our kids? Okay, I get it. You don't want to hurt any 5 year old's feelings because, let's face it, they can really make you feel bad when they cry. But seriously. I just can't get on board with the "Life is fair for everyone" crap. Yup, crap. Life isn't fair. It certainly sucks sometimes, but it's something we all have to face. I can remember a number of parties I would have wanted to attend but didn't get invited to growing up. Guess what? I was disappointed, sure. But I survived. All these fairness rules, in my humble opinion, are teaching our kids to be entitled little jerks. 

Oh gosh, did I just say that our sweet angels could ever be jerks? Yup, I did. And I'm saying we are the cause of it if we keep this up. These sorts of things are teaching children that just because they want it, they can have it. Where is the lesson in that?! They are learning to be entitled, they're learning they don't have to work for things. They are not learning how to deal with disappointment, or hurt feelings, or being left out, or not getting what they want - all of which happens in real life.

Not only do we have to invite every kid to the party, no teams lose, everyone has to share...
Every team wins?! What the hell?? Nope. In life, there are winners and losers. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It happens to all of us. I lost student council secretary in 5th grade. I was super disappointed. I lived. I tried again in high school. I lost that too. I have definitely learned how to lose. I've also won some stuff at some point, all of which are escaping me at the moment (see, the losing really does shape us!) Our kids need to learn how to lose AND how to win. They need to learn how to lose and cope and deal with their feelings, they need to learn how to win graciously.

Everyone has to share. Ok I get it. Sharing is caring and all that character counts jazz. But seriously, kids shouldn't have to share everything. Sometimes, kids need to learn it's okay to say no about a special item or something they aren't done using. And the kid who wants it needs to learn to respect no. That either that thing belongs to that person and he's not getting it, or he needs to patiently wait his turn. He's not entitled to what that other kid has. A has things that I don't make her share. I'm sorry parents, if you or your kid are offended by that, but there are things that are special to her (or to me) that I don't require her to share. It's not everything and sure, I intervene if she's not sharing at all, or if she's hoarding toys, or just being generally selfish, but I also respect her personal boundaries. She has learned the other way, too. If another kid doesn't want to share, well, she has to deal with it. It's called coping and it's important because life isn't fair. At all.

Let's just look at some of this from the perspective of adulthood. Winning and losing. Pretty obvious. If there were no winners or losers, we'd have no presidents, no scholarships, and the Superbowl would be really lame. Winners. Losers. Real life.
As far as sharing... well, if you have to share everything, then I would like to use your Lamborghini for the day good sir. New iPhone6? Don't mind if I do. I mean come on. Sure, it's cool to borrow things from friends or family, certain things, but there are limits. That's the point I'm making here.

I think as a society, we've gotten soft. Come on, now, I'm not that old. Things can't have changed that much... but they have! I love my little girl more than anything in the world. And I want to give her everything she wants in this world and keep her from all pain. But I know, unfortunately, that that is just not realistic. It is my responsibility as her parent to make sure she doesn't turn into an asshole. We aren't just raising kids, we are raising people. They are one day going to be adults, and what was ingrained in them in childhood is going to carry over into their adulthood. So let's teach them how to cope and deal with inevitable disappointment, how to respect others' space, how to work hard and earn things, how to be caring and curious and polite and generous but be just tough enough. I don't want to thicken her skin into rough calluses, I just want her to be just tough enough. It's a fine line to walk, I know, but right now, I think the general way it's being handled is teetering dangerously off that line and into a very bad place.

What say you? Let's have some open communication on this. I'm interested in what you have to say. Respect others' opinions while standing your ground and let's have a dialogue on preparing our children for the big, scary world out there and whether or not this is helping.


  1. Amen!! Dave and I talk about this all the time. The "everyone's a winner" mentality is ruining kids. Our children WILL NOT be raised that way. They will win, they will lose and they will grow from it. So glad you wrote this!

  2. Love your point of view. It kind of reminded me of the arguments I've read about school uniforms. They "don't want children to get made fun of" and such, but life sucks sometimes. Sometimes that little girl will have more expensive shoes than you, and occasionally you won't get invited to that party, and you most likely won't get the first job you apply for.. But that's okay! Life goes on. Teach them to be strong and keep going no matter the circumstances.

  3. Very thoughtful and insightful post! On a daily basis we haven't encountered this much yet, but I keep hearing about this trend. Your reasoning seems sound to me!

  4. Life isn't fair or equal. It shouldn't be too much to ask the schools we entrust to teach our kids, to also help to teach real life lessons. This PC crap helps no child but rather goes a long way in creating little entitled monsters who grow up to be big entitled monsters.

  5. Yes, yes yes. 1000 times yes. I am a teacher and this drives me crazy day in and day out. We can't fail kids. Kids can take re-tests any time they want. We can't hold them accountable for homework because we aren't grading their behavior. And what do I see when these kids to me in high school? Entitled brats. Newsflash. Not everyone gets an A. Not everyone gets a trophy - oh wait, they do now! Not everyone is prom queen - oh wait, you have to submit an application to even be considered as part of the court. Why? So the "unpopular" kids have a chance to. Who really remembers their prom queen anyway? Seriously. I wish I could copy this post and send it to all of my co-workers. They would undoubtedly agree with you. Or better yet, our administration and politicians.. maybe the would get the hint. Life isn't fair. You have to learn to deal with the struggles. We are preparing our kids to fail. Plain and simple.

  6. You nailed this! I don't have children of my own, but I've thought the same from stories I've heard from friends. Their kids play sports but can't keep score!? What's the point!? They have to have A, B, C etc teams so everyone can play. Their first disappintment in life will be real eye openers...

  7. Are you kidding me with that? For the most part, if as kids, you didn't get an invite, you'd cry for like...a minute and then go SQUIRREL and get distracted by something else and forgot all about the party you didn't get invited to haha!

    There isn't THAT much of a generation gap between us and our parents and even grandparents so why are "new age" parents taking this to such extremes?

  8. I think they should send home emails for parents to contact for these things so you ARENT forced to invite the whole class! I usually ask my kids to get a couple phone numbers for the two or three kids they want to do something special with for their birthdays. In general the whole birthday thing is WAY out of control!

  9. Honestly, at 5 I think its a good policy. The choice isn't "invite everyone or no one". It is, hand invites out at school - invite everyone. Use the USPS - invite who you want. My son's birthday is coming up and we **gasp** mailed his invitations to avoid inviting his entire class. Not a big deal at all. I'm not sure why the mail is so outdated these days.

    This was a rule at my elementary schools in the 80s so I don't buy the "wussification" message. To me, simple etiquette dictates that you don't hand out invites in front of people who aren't invited. Just like as an adult, I don't talk about a fun dinner party I am hosting in front of people I haven't invited.

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