Last month, our ten year old daughter, who is in love with Louis IV and all of his trappings begged us to have a Royal dinner party in which everyone came dressed as royalty, gave themselves royal names, and ate in a royal fashion. Putting her off for longer than we would like to admit, we sat down one day and talked about what this dinner party would be like.
"Royal costumes! Everyone has to come dressed like some royalty. They can be a King, a Prince, a Duke, or a Countess. I am of course, Comtess Zoe-Pascale de Saxe Roux of Languedoc, Rousillion."
Now, being a tween she was also aware of the fact that some of her friends might think she was "uncool" and therefore wanted to invite family friends. At first we tried to dissuade her, but realized she had actually come up with a solution to the problem she felt (operative word, felt) she had which was not to be "uncool."
In her eloquent Franglais, she crafted the Royal invitation and sent it out to a few family friends asking them to RSVP with their titles and come appropriately dressed. To our surprise, all the invitees answered with hysterical messages that asked, "Where should we park the carriage and horses?" "Will there be water for the horses?"
Birthday celebrations I believe are very important at all ages and meant to be celebrated, but why?
The history of birthday celebrations dates back (or so they believe) to the period when humans began to tell time and could count that a year had passed. The story goes that men, women, and children surrounded themselves with friends, food, and noisemakers to ward off evil spirits around the time of their birthday. Having a party and being noisy protected them from anything bad that would come into our lives. Today we may not believe we are warding off evil spirits, but indeed we are bringing the opposite- joy- into our day.
That brings me back to the point that why do we reserve one day a year to treat ourselves special, why not have the intention of celebrating our life everyday. In turn, we can do the same for others with a simple wish of a great day, a song, a lighting of the candles, and especially treating ourselves and others with kindness.
Today is my daughter’s 10th birthday. She woke up early, climbed into bed and had a huge grin on her face in the dark shadows of the early morning light. “I’m so happy?” She said. “It’s my special day.”
The principles of creating the life you want needs to start when hormones start to rage. If we gave our tweens, teens, and young adults well researched tools for creating their lives and living their dreams wouldn't we all be better off.
I recently gave a speech in San Diego related to Creating the Lifestyle you Want. During the presentation a hand went up from a woman in the back. "Can you do this workshop for our teenage daughters?" they asked. "They are caught in this never ending spiral of competition, wanting to be like everyone else, doing what the "Lead girl" tells them to do and looking to please others before themselves. You have to come and teach this to them." she yelled.
Having an entering tween (almost 10) I personally am beginning to see the spiral she is talking about. The need to be like everyone else instead of follow their own views, beliefs, dreams, and likes. Yes, this is all part of growing up (and hasn't changed much since I was a teen), but somehow it seems to have taken on a new dimension. This is mirrored in the movies I watch with my daughter that always has a "popular girl" putting down other kids. The pecking order is easy to see and the blatant way in which girls pick on other girls and hurt each other is amazing in living color.
As parents, aunts, grandparents, friends, and teachers we all have a role in raising this next generation. Remembering that we need to continue to help build their self confidence and help them be who they want to be (not what someone else says they should be or do).
On April 11, 2008, the Ecole Primare put on some marvelous plays in which the kids worked hard and long to prepare. The costumes, lighting, memorization, and acting were fantastic and much applause goes to the Theatre teacher who taught theatre once a week for 6 months. Zoe was in two plays. The first one about some princesses, one of whom she wanted to be, but wasn't and the second play was a takeoff of Jules Verne Around the world in 80 days.