Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Inspirational Stories #100 - Are Birthday parties really needed?

This is purely my personal opinion. I have always hated to waste food, and I somehow cannot tolerate food being wasted in parties, weddings, etc.

I feel all this is just an ugly display of one's ego and wealth.

I have lived in big apartment complexes (still do) where almost everyday, there is one birthday celebration or the other. The kids and the parents start preparing atleast a week in advance - inviting friends, neighbours, organizing games, selecting the huge cake, choosing gifts for the other children attending the party, and ofcourse, buying lots and lots of food and drink. As always, children don't eat all the food that is served, and most of it is thrown into the garbage.

When millions in our country go without even one square meal a day, it is painful to see food being thrown away.

Well, we do need to celebrate birthdays and other occasions, and it is indeed very special when it comes to our own children. But, in residential complexes when people of different lifestyle and status reside, these celebrations I think are becoming more of a status symbol, and an occasion to display how much money you can spend.

All children do love being pampered, and receiving gifts, and really look forward to the food, dance and music at birthdays. My son was no exception either. One day a few years ago, I sat down with him and explained why such parties are a waste of money and the plans that I have made to make his day really memorable and enjoyable. He agreed reluctantly!

On his next birthday, I took him to a home for street children. There were about a 100 children in the home in different age groups, and as I had informed them earlier that I would like to celebrate my son's birthday with them, the children were all sitting at their tables eagerly waiting for the sweets that I had brought for them.

Some of the little kids surrounded our car, and eagerly helped my son step down!.

My son was dressed up in brand new clothes as it was his birthday, and it was for the first time I think he saw children of his own age dressed in torn attire. He was the VIP that day!. When he went around the tables distributing the sweets, each of the little children stood up to greet my son, and shook hands with him. We spent about 2 hours at the home. The children also entertained my son with some music and dance.

My little boy only then realized how privileged he was. He had so many things that the other children did not have. He was very quiet on the way back home, and then later that night, he expressed a desire to visit the home again sometime. He also asked me if I could give away some his old clothes to the kids which I actually did!

On his subsequent birthday, I took him to a home for mentally challenged children. He had never seen such children all his life, and could not forget the experience for several weeks thereafter. He would keep on talking about the children there. I  have been continuing this practice till date.

Teach your children to give. There is so much pleasure when you can make someone else happy. Try it once, and tell me if I am wrong.

Allow your children to participate in some kind of community service in school. It givens them an opportunity to know how lucky they are in this world. It also gives them an opportunity to know that there are less privileged children around them who are deprived of even basic necessities in life. It also allows them to know that there are bigger joys in life than computers, video games and play stations!

As I said in the beginning, this is my personal opinion only. We are living at a time when we are spoiling our kids with expensive clothes, gadgets, and what not. Let them also know that all this is not permanent in life, and teach them to thank God everyday for what they have got now.

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