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THE FAITH PAGE: HAVE YOU PARTY PROOFED YOUR HOUSE?

By Faith Kaplan

My husband and I took a little holiday a few weeks ago to take advantage of paradise before the rates increased for the holiday season.  The children took advantage of our absence to throw a party.  By all accounts it was a roaring success.    In this new Facebook era, friends of friends can number in the hundreds and people came from all over:  high school and university students, school mates and neighbours, cousins, public school and independent school from all corners of the city.  There were even kids from out of town.  I’m sure all the guests came from good families, because no one had to call the police to restore order.

 
 When we were kids and went to house parties, there was the inevitable memorable vomit episode and the odd confrontation – often the result of an illicit flirtation and protests of “I’m a victim!” But certain rules were commonly understood and respected. You never took anything from the host’s home except food and drink.  You never trashed their house. You respected other people’s property. You might have gotten good and drunk, but you didn’t behave like a total idiot.  A lout perhaps. A colleague of mine told me that his “my parents are out of town” house party resulted in the police being called because of serious drunken brawling.  Maybe it’s because there were “friends of friends” or maybe it’s because there are always kids who do stupid things in a crowd, but whatever the reason, the rules of house party engagement were not observed. Things went missing. 
Nothing of real value was taken, but really. Who takes someone else’s Havdallah spice tower (with the spices still in it?)  Who nicks a Hebrew birkat habayit (blessing on this home) off the wall? Who helps themselves to porcelain statute heads? (Shelley Tadman Gallery, my 10th anniversary gift from Hart. I suppose I’ll have to use the bodies for candle holders.  I can’t really ask the artist to make two new heads, can I?) A punk steals a wallet or an iPod, but who steals knickknacks? That just shows a lack of respect. Who would be so disrespectful of some else’s knickknacks? Someone lacking self respect!
 
In this day and age, with all the parenting books and magazines available to us, why should any middle class, privileged child lack self respect?  I think it’s because we (the collective not the royal we) love our kids too much and over-protect them. I think our misguided attempts to give them self esteem backfired and their sense of entitlement is over developed. I think we read too many books and magazines.  I also think it’s time to let our children learn the value of hard work and perseverance. 
Thankfully, no one was hurt at our house party.  The neighbours only called to complain they weren’t invited.  The house wasn’t trashed.  It was generally regarded as quite the party.  And clearly, my taste in knickknacks is appealing.  But next time we go away, I’ll make sure the house is party proofed.  Just in case.
 

Faith Kaplan is a Winnipeg-based independent marketing consultant working in the not for profit sector. Her writing career started in high school, where she wrote a regular column for the JWC Eye under the pseudonym Maureen Gossip.

 
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