OK, I’m showing off now, but I have. In fact this might be the one I flew in on holiday in South Africa.
Thrilled, excited, squeaking and ‘eeeking’. All of that and more.
It was a spur of the moment thing and it wasn’t silly money either.
But what is silly money is the current trend among UK parents to emulate the US tradition of arriving in ‘style’ for the end of school ‘Prom’. We’ve only been doing this over the last five years or so but it’s escalated outrageously.
I’m not talking about teenagers here, I’m talking about eleven year olds.
(I’ll pause at this point while you read that bit again….)
It’s summer and our eleven year olds are about to leave their Primary schools.
Of course it’s a milestone for them. The pattern for celebration used to be signing one another’s school shirts with a felt pen and promising undying friendship, even having a disco in the school hall, but, I kid you not, some unbelievably competitive parents are hiring limos, fire engines and horses and carriages to transport their offspring to these events, at ludicrously high prices.
One school, and who knows if there may be more, received a request to land a helicopter on the school field…
Thankfully the request was turned down, but what on earth is going on here?
Here’s my take on it-
- Is it about guilt?
Parents feeling guilty because they have to work and can’t spend much time with their children?
- Is it about not wanting to be the only parent who doesn’t go with the crowd?
Not wanting to be the ones who don’t buy the expensive dresses and accessories for their children?
- Or is it about using money to replace love?
Do these parents believe that the more money they spend for their child to join in on these very expensive occasions the better parent they’ll be?
Here’s the thing-
How can the child appreciate the ‘small stuff’ when this outrageous spending is what they’re taught to expect?
What exactly is a ‘treat’ for them?
Surely these parents are setting their children up for huge disappointments as they grow older.
When grandma visits and produces a small gift from her bag, will they burst into tears if it’s only a chocolate bar?
What will the reaction be when the Party Bag only contains pocket money toys and sweets?
Will they go on to judge their peers by how affluent they are?
When I was about eleven, my father always bought me a special Christmas gift, just from him.
I learnt in later years that he would use his dinner break to choose it, without mum’s help. It was often a brooch or a necklace, in a gift wrapped box.
Inside was a label which said,
‘To my beautiful little girl from her dear old dad.’
Tears appear as I write this as it is such a precious memory. The gifts cost very little, but I treasured every one.
What will you give your child that they’ll treasure, many years later?