We have become an overly stimulated, over-scheduled, overly stressed, SUPER-SIZED SOCIETY. And how did we get here? We did it to ourselves. Sad, I know.
I grew up from the mid 70s to early 90s. Times were different. Things seemed simpler. Maybe because I was the child then and not the parent. I’m not saying it was a cake-walk and our parents didn’t have it hard. Both of my parents worked incredibly long hours at their full-time jobs and always made sacrifices for us three kids.
It was just different. It was before parents worried about human trafficking, BPA, lead paint, how much sugar was in the cherry Kool-Aid, and exactly where we were when playing outside. Oh yeah, and what their kids were doing on social media.
Besides the advent of a slew of technological devices and social media since my own youth, I think I could argue that we have arrived where we are because WE make things over the top now, and then we post it on social media for some type of affirmation. Back then, most life events were not so sensationalized.
Let’s start with…
Out-of-control kid’s birthday parties. Catered events (and I’m not talking pizza delivery), with hired magicians, face painters, balloon artists, arcade trucks, etc. Really? Is this necessary? (NO!) What will those children grow to expect out of life if this is what is becoming more and more normal for some of them at their typical birthday party?
And Goodie bags? When and WHY were those invented? Most of it’s junk that I end up cursing about when I step on them barefooted or that adds more clutter to my already messy house.
Back in the day, our parents did not spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on birthday parties. IF we didn’t have the birthday party in one of our friend’s homes (where we probably ate nitrate-filled hotdogs, Cool Ranch Doritos, drank Tang and had a dance party to Madonna on cassette tape), it was probably at McDonalds.
You really made it big if you scored an invite to two or three parties during your entire childhood hosted at the golden arches. My friends and I were so incredibly excited to dig into a cake with Ronald’s crazy-clown mug on it and swish it down with orange drink. We celebrated our friend’s big day with matching orange mustaches. We weren’t wondering what swag we were going to be given upon our exit. We were living in the moment and on a temporary sugar high, happy for our friend.
Next up, “prom proposals?” What the heck are prom proposals? I went to prom with guys through a sort of arranged agreement through friends. I don’t think my dates ever officially asked me themselves. I rode to prom in a total beater (no offense past prom dates) and ate at a Red Lobster. There were no limos for me. I had a great time. I’m just stating the facts. When did these more minuscule, life milestones turn into such big megalithic events?
These poor young people have so much pressure on them to do something over-the-top, creative, and of course, then post their proposals on social media. I feel horrible for the kids who get rejected after all their efforts. Also, what are they going to have to do to top that proposal when it comes to their life partner and the prospect of marriage?
Having to do baby gender reveal parties? Grandparents buying gifts that out-rank Santa and Mom and Dad? Focusing on one sport or instrument barely out of diapers and spending your children’s 529 plan money on traveling and equipment? I could go on, but I know you get the point.
Lately, I have felt like starting a movement. Maybe it’s just me getting old and out of touch, but I feel like I need to stand up against this sensationalized, super-sized stuff. I’m am going to consciously object to my children taking part in all this craziness as much as I can control it…I refuse to be swept up into what is expected and sadly accepted as the norm now.
Instead of buying goodie bags for your child’s next birthday party, I encourage you to “join the movement” and to have them donate that money you would have normally spent, on bettering our world. Donate it to a cause that is important to your child. Tell your teens not to expect over the top prom proposals…let’s start small. Baby steps…Please spread this movement if you agree by sharing this sentiment with others.
Lecture finished. Microphone dropped.