I recently read a post on social media where a mother of a tween was asking for advice for the said tween’s next birthday party. She had run out of ideas of how to entertain her child and their friends and listed all the parties that she had arranged every year thus far. And this got me thinking – what do these youngsters have to look forward to in life, if by the age of 10 they have already experienced what most people take a lifetime to enjoy.
This past weekend was my granddaughters 7th birthday and they all had a wonderful time at a tree top adventure venue with obstacle courses through trees, zip-lining and big swings. Enough to make the faint-hearted weak at the knees. Some of the children took to it like ducks to water and others were paralyzed by fear, with parents (and grandparents) egging them on and telling them how brave they were. The first time I went zip lining was at the ripe old age of 40. This is not envy and it is great that the youngsters of today have so much more readily available for them to explore, but where to from here – what do they have to look forward to – to challenge themselves later in life. Won’t this make them all that little more jaded and searching for the next adrenaline rush.
Next weekend, she will be joining her friend (also turning 7) at the local spa, where they will be pampered with mud face masks, manicures and other spa treatments – sorry, but has the world gone mad. What has happened to hide and seek, pass the parcel and pin the tail on the donkey. Birthday cakes made proudly at home – albeit a bit lopsided – but not having to take out an extra mortgage just to have the perfect cake, which ultimately gets discarded on soggy paper plates. Children of today, in my opinion, are growing up way too fast. They are exposed daily to indiscriminate propaganda and peer pressure. I also feel for young parents of today who are pressured into this competitive rat race, where they are judged on their parenting skills, with eyebrows raised if it is perceived that they are not bowing to societies norms, with school report cards compared and social media adding fuel to the fire.
As a parent (in the good old days) you would worry about the cost of a 21st birthday, and not have to max out the credit card for little Johnny from year 1. From what I have seen, birthday parties now not only entail making sure that the children’s entertainment outdoes the previous occasion and catering for the children, as no longer do children get dropped off with a sigh of relief for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon, as mom and dad (plus siblings) stay for the entirety of the party and have to be catered for as well.
To go back to my original question – “So what next …..?” How is society going to keep the younger generation entertained if they have already done it all before they turn 13? How can we slow the world down and let them enjoy a simple childhood? I am really glad I didn’t even know the word “facial” until I was older enough to appreciate it. Will there be anything left for them to be in awe of, to strive to achieve…… I wish I knew the answer!
Photo courtesy – Piclick.com