Birthdays are important to our family. They are the one day each person is celebrated exclusively each year. As small people in a big world, it is important to put others first and minimize our own needs and desires whenever possible. When a birthday rolls around, it is fun to be in the spotlight.
Birthdays also provide valuable opportunities for the hosts to show value to the friends in our lives. A child’s birthday is an opportunity for that child to learn to be a gracious host. As adults, my sister and I love making a party a fun and special occasion to share memories with our guests. We always go all out with the theme and make lots of memories, including educational activities for the kids. Both of us have the love language gifts, which is why we love showering our guests with fun trinkets and memories.
My sister and I also each have the receptive love language of quality time. When our friends simply show up, it communicates that our efforts, and as an extension, our personal strengths and contributions, are valued.
Kid parties can be tedious, especially as kids get older and are invited to so many. There are obviously certain priorities that take precedence over a birthday party, such as illness or keeping prior commitments. Plus, you might need to choose parties for people who are constant in your life as opposed to every single classmate. However, an invitation to a birthday party is an expression that someone wants to share a special event with you. Attending is not just an opportunity to take advantage of whatever the party is offering, it is a way of showing the host that you value that person and want to support something that is important to them.
As you encounter parties in your life, I hope you will learn to look not at the event but at the person. Yes, things come up, but don’t avoid parties because you don’t want to. Definitely do not cancel last minute. If you can’t afford a present, who cares? You are the present because your attendance communicates a care and value so much more valuable than STUFF. Let your time be the present and let your attendance show that the host is important.