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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

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Date Posted: October 22, 2005

I'm ashamed to say that last weekend I watched a marathon of shows about sixteenth birthday parties.

As I was cleaning around the house I turned on the TV and stopped on a channel where there were girls, trying to look years older than they were, and planning the most ridiculously extravagant birthday parties I, in my small little world, could imagine.

It wasn't just the use of money and the enormity of the event, but the attitude of these girls and the way they treated people. One kept telling her mother to shut up and stop trying to steal the show. Yes, I guess it was a show.

All were committed to inviting only the coolest people (that's probably not a "cool" word anymore) and making sure they kicked out any party crashers.

Thousands of dollars were spent on wardrobe and hair. One girl went for a pedicure and decided to have diamond chips put on her toes. "It's only eight dollars per diamond, but my bill will probably be about $800," she laughed.

The total for one party (just party, not any gifts - and I'm sure there were some) was over $450,000! Now I could think of a more useful way to spend that much money. Like living well for the rest of my life. Or feeding a third world country for a few months.

These girls not only expected to be treated like an actual princess (one had a Cinderella theme, complete with carriage and Prince Charming), but they felt entitled to the best party anyone had ever seen.

One party guest commented, "My wedding won't be this nice!" Tell me about it, honey!

What will mommy and daddy do to top a half million dollar sixteenth birthday party? Send her around the world with all her friends for graduation? Buy a small country for a wedding gift?

I guess I just think too small. I felt it was excessive when this season in my son's baseball and soccer leagues, parents not only took turns providing drinks for the kids, but added snacks as well. Perhaps by next season we can take them all out to dinner after each game!

I had lots of nice birthday parties growing up, but I honestly don't even remember what I did for my sixteenth birthday. I know it didn't cost close to $450, though, and forget those other three zeros!

It's so hard not to give our kids too much when we can, or to feel guilty if we can't give them what they want. It's hard not to get caught up in all that the world worships: glitz, glamor, money, beauty, fame . . .

What can we offer instead? True riches. Adoption by the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills. Celebrating the next life in a place with more bling than we can even imagine.

"Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf." -- Proverbs 11:28

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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