Monday, November 7, 2011

Suffer the Little Children

If there was a doubt in your mind as to whether or not children these days are spoiled, let it be swiftly erased with a look at a letter a group of children from Oshawa wrote to one of their neighbours the day after Halloween:

The letter states that the former owner of the house, a lady, used to give out candy apples, but that there was no candy whatsoever from the new owner of the house. It goes on to explain how the new homeowner can rectify his mistake, outlining that chocolate bars are fine, they get too many chips and that if the owner would like to 'deliver' the candy to them over the weekend, that would also be an acceptable solution.


Part of me doesn't know where to begin with this one, but maybe a good first step is to point out what Halloween actually is. It's a holiday, considered pagan by some, but mostly a reason to dress up as imaginary people and go door to door for treats. There's a tacit understanding of behalf of the two parties that adults will stock up on candy and children will make themselves adorable or horrible in order to get it. But there's one important thing to underline in this exercise: it is VOLUNTARY.

There may be people out there who don't believe in it. There may be others who simply don't like it. There may be even more people who don't believe in the commercialization of a holiday that started out as an excuse for people to go around and get to know their neighbours. Whatever the reason, nobody HAS to participate in Halloween. And that includes doling out the sweet stuff.

It's not just supposed to be about the candy. Getting to dress up weird and go out late at night are the primary perks of this holiday and candy is just icing on the cake. It's not a candy grab. At least, that's not what it was intended to be. But it's no surprise that kids continue to see it as a candy grab and treat it like one, to the point where they feel entitled to complain about the quality or quantity of the candy or whether or not they get it. And even to the point where they feel that the candy should be 'delivered' to them by errant adults.

The homeowner responded in the best possible way:

"Dear Children of Entitlement (and likely their parents)," starts the Kijiji post. "You have gone ahead and reminded me of why I do not want children, and why I weep for the future."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Children: you have rights. Rights to an education, clean water, shelter, food, and the right not to be exploited for labour purposes. You do not have the right to Halloween or any other holiday where you feel that gifts and sweets should be showered upon you from on high. Alas, this applies to Christmas too, even though you probably think that it's every child's right to be greeted by a Christmas tree with an explosion of presents underneath its holiday tree skirt.

It's yet another common sense lesson that kids don't seem to be getting from their parents: gratitude. Gratitude for what you have, and for the things that you don't have to suffer.

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