NOVEMBER 14

Party Down?

I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud. ISAIAH 13:11

After deciding on a ballerina theme for her daughter's sixth birthday party, a young mother drove all over town to find little dancers for the cake. She even added 50 little Beefeaters (those fancy-dressed guards) around the edges, layering them in white icing and peppermint trim.

Only one catch: The kids at the party wouldn't eat it. They wanted to play. This comes from the "disaster story" file gathered by a parent's group in St. Paul, Minnesota, that is trying to curb the runaway epidemic of outlandish birthday parties for kids.

There are more: A one-year-old whose gift opening lasted more than two hours (she slept through most of it). Seven-year-olds picked up in stretch limos.

A six-year-old who took one look at the contents of his gift bag and declared, "This is a rip-off!"

Listen, I'm all for having fun and making memories. The Raineys have always been high on celebrations and traditions. We love turning milestones into unforgettable moments. But I find myself applauding this group's ideas for ramping down the competition, stress and showmanship of children's party planning. In some areas of the country, it's way over the top!

The group suggests, for example, holding parties without gift bags for everyone who attends. (As one mom said, "Do they really need another pencil, another rubber ball, another whistle?") They also endorse inviting kids only, not their parents, and letting them just go outside and play rather than trying to orchestrate fun with wildly elaborate games and activities.

Happiness is being together as family and friends, not feeling the pressure to turn your backyard into a five-star amusement park.

Freeze Tag, anyone? Simon Says?

DISCUSS

In what other ways do you feel the pressure to compete with other families or to outdo others?

PRAY

Ask the Lord to keep you content with simple pleasures.

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