Voices Of Youth

Birthday parties - it's the heart that counts

Birthdays come just once a year, but when it comes to celebrating them in school, something simple such as singing a birthday song or giving birthday greetings will do (Birthday parties create unnecessary competition, by Ms Annie Chua Hui Ling; April 20).

Besides the issue of food allergies, I think the real damage is done when children start comparing themselves with their peers.

Many primary school pupils may not be able to understand why some of their classmates are able to afford pricey celebrations, while their own families cannot.

In any case, some parents do not believe in showing their love through material goods, but their children may not know the full picture.

Not having big birthday celebrations in schools can teach pupils to be sensitive towards their peers, as well as develop an appreciation for small gestures.

Empathy is a useful life skill that will greatly benefit them and can be developed through small actions like these.

Ultimately, what is most important is the heart behind all the birthday greetings and celebrations.

Nicole Lim Jia Ying, 16, Secondary 4 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2017, with the headline 'Birthday parties - it's the heart that counts'. Print Edition | Subscribe