Monday, June 30, 2008

I triple dog dare them

An eight-year-old boy didn’t invite two of his classmates to his birthday party. It isn’t exactly an unusual thing, is it? I guess that is why the world is so curious about the fact that the boy’s school has complained to the Swedish Parliament that, by not inviting these classmates, he has somehow snarked their rights.

Honestly - Sweden? The perfect country? The country with a clean environment, safe roads, good pay, bonuses for every child born, and hardcore women’s rights? They are taking it upon themselves to legislate who gets invited to kid’s birthday parties? Sure, sure. The decision hasn’t been made yet. But just the fact that the school feels justified in making this claim – to the point of confiscating the poor kid’s invitations – is a bit, well, pathetic.

The birthday party invite is one of the few great sources of power in the kid world. Whole kid dynasties have risen and fallen based on the invite. The only greater power amongst children is the ability to skip to the triple dog dare with complete confidence. We all know that nobody respects or fears the kid whose parents make him invite the whole class, and why is that? Because if you invite everybody, no one really cares. If the mean kid gets invited to every party no matter what, then he stays mean. You can’t send a message if you invite everyone. You can’t enact revenge on your mortal kid enemy. I realize that not inviting everyone can hurt the kid that doesn’t really do anything but everyone picks on, but hey, politics is politics. People really underestimate how politically charged the life of kids can be.

If the Swedish Parliament decides that not inviting every kid in the class is a violation of kid rights, then the whole power structure of kid-dom will come crashing down. Who knows what will happen next – they might decide that skipping dares is a crime punishable by no television computer usage for a year. What will happen to the children then?


Anonymous said...

Times are changing. Just about anything can be considered offensive and also politically incorrect these days. Deciding which classmates to invite to a party is a students right. However, things become a bit more controversial when the uninvited classmates are only two - and not five or ten. Why these two? Are they of a different religion or race? Are they new to the school and not yet "popular?" Something has got to give. We are not getting the full story here. It's an obvious snub towards the two classmates and if I was one of the excluded students, my feelings would be hurt - especially being singled out like that in front of all my peers. I think we need to examine both sides of the situation and not just make it a nerds versus cool kids issue. Perhaps next time the student should send out an e-vite to their party, this way the teacher will not be able to interfere and those not invited will not be aware of their exclusion.


Lulu Barbarian said...

I agree with Sofia that there may be more to this story, and with her suggestion that students keep invititations a little more private. But even with private invites, gossip will happen, and it could be the exact same situation.

I think the important point here is that you can't reasonably legislate behavior down this fineness of detail if you want to have a free society. You can't stop people from being jerks. And kids need to learn that there will always be jerks and learn how to deal with that.

Rositta said...

As an immigrant child to this country in the 50's, I was the one who was not invited to b-day parties. Were my feelings hurt? Probably...did it leave a lifelong scar on my psyche? Nope, and the reason I didn't get invited? My non English speaking parents inadvertently rented a flat in a predominatly Jewish part of town, and gee whiz, we are German. Another bizare happening here in Canada was a daughter taking her father to court because he refused to let her go on a school trip. She had broken a very important rule, he grounded her, she took him to court and the judge, well he took the kids' side and she got to go on the trip. What next...ciao

Risa said...

I was a recent witness to the power of the birthday invitation among 2 5-year-old boys. One threatened, "If you cry about this, I'm not going to invite you to my birthday."
I've never seen tears dry so quickly.