Let’s Ditch Our Birthdays
My Asli kids in general, never know their birthdays.
They’ve never even cared to find out.
Odd and discordant isn’t it?
All this began 6 years ago when I got my very own class of 22, 11-year old’s.
Fun, capricious, innocent children they were with not a care in the world.
Trying to be a great class teacher, I came-up with a huge chart that had their names on it and attempted to sort their names into the various columns labelled with each month in a calendar year.
As we sat around the chart, the only one with a brimming smile and an excited look was ME, the one who’s birthday wasn’t going to be on the chart.
Assuming it didn’t mean anything, I persisted in asking each of them when their birthdates were, but none responded. Not a single one!! I wasn’t about to give-in, so I went through the attendance register and managed to get the dates I required. I followed-up by organizing a mini party two weeks later. It was to celebrate the kids who were born in January.
Again, I was expecting them to be super excited!! That It was their birthday!!
However, throughout the party, the only thing they were enjoying was the food and the games, they didn’t seem to resonate with the idea of being appreciated and remembered during a very special occasion.
We continued this for one year (by ‘We’ I mean myself). Unfortunately, it didn’t catch on, the idea of wishing one another, and making each other feel special didn’t latch.
Through the years, I’ve come to learn from my children why a “usual” day is all we need.
They never needed a special occasion to show how they cared for me or one another, we showed each other love and affection daily.
Though the idea of celebrating their birth seemed convoluted to them, we’d rather have:
-high fives and hugs, both given and received
-walks, holding each other’s hands
-inappropriate “thank you”s from random kids who I’ve never thought
-exhaustion I’m left with from saying good morning to each child
-sneaky kids bring durians for me so other teachers won’t find out
Our society have perhaps become too dependent on special occasions and events to show care and love that we forget the axiomatic essence of being who we are.
I hope my kids never remember their birthdays, maybe the world should too.