So...as most parents of a school-aged child are bound to be aware of...yesterday was World Book Day.
A day to encourage children to celebrate and enjoy literature, an opportunity to encourage them to develop a love of reading....
However, as with most things these days, World Book Day relies on a gimmick to get people involved - and that gimmick is fancy dress.
Children are encouraged to go to school dressed as characters from books for the day, and of course it's a lovely opportunity to have a chat with your child about possible dress-up options and chat about which books are their favourites, etc.
Personally, I love the idea of World Book Day - I love reading myself and I think anything that encourages children to read can only be a good thing.
When the day began, I scrolled happily through my various social media feeds and really enjoyed seeing all the photos of excited little children all over who were dressed as all sorts of characters and ready to enjoy some fun at school! How lovely!
Sadly...later in the day, the mood across my social media pages shifted a little....as the children returned from their day at school, I noticed more and more Mums having a bit of a dig at other parents efforts with their childs costumes.
Comments made about how "sad" it was to see so many children attending the World Book Day celebrations in "store bought" costumes rather than handmade....Various digs from mothers who's children had won the School Fancy Dress Competitions in their hand-made outfits about how the "expense some had gone to was unnecessary".....
And as the evening progressed, it just seemed to get worse.
Now I was seeing Mums on various threads, forums and groups complaining not only about parents store-buying their Childrens costumes, but now they were also complaining about the characters that had been chosen.
I've lost count of how many mothers I have seen over the last 24 hours bitching about how Disney characters and Comic Book heroes are "not suitable literary characters for World Book Day"....about what a missed opportunity it is when children are embracing Characters that they know from movies and TV instead of from books.
This feeling seemed to spread right across my social media channels, and it seems that the vast majority of parents out there agree with this notion...that it's somehow lazy parenting to allow your child to go to World Book Day events dressed as a Disney character or a Comic Book hero.
Am I the only one who finds it FAR more sad to see something as well-meaning and innocent as World Book Day turned in to yet ANOTHER Mummy-Olympics guilt fest?!
Aren't there enough things for parents to feel guilty about without throwing THIS event into the mix?!
Let's set aside the fact that the vast majority of Disney characters DID actually stem from literature (with Disney favourite Elsa being based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, for example....) and that Comic books ARE a respected form of art in their own right (and the word BOOK is right there in the title...are we REALLY going to start getting stuck-up over what level of literature is considered acceptable for World Book Day?! If so, why don't we start insist on Nobel prize for Literature winning books only?! Let's see how many of THOSE these holier-than-thou Mummies have filling their book shelves....)
Let's even forget the fact that it's believed that at least 50% of all movies are actually originally based on books.... (therefore making it a 50/50 chance that whatever book you choose a character from will also have, at some point, have been made for the silver screen.)
Let's forget the fact that it DOESN'T MATTER how a child is introduced to books...and that it's VERY possible that love of a movie character could even encourage a child to pick up a book for the first time to read about them and start a life long love of reading (This is EXACTLY what happened to me...I had never cared much for reading until I saw the movie Mrs Doubtfire and loved it, decided to buy the original Anne Fine book and then went on to read all of her other books...and never stopped reading from then on...all because of a movie....).
The main issue I have with all of these comments I've seen since yesterday is how downright snobbish it is to pass judgement on what another parent deems to be a suitable outfit for their child....and whether or not they bought it from a shop or made it themselves.
By all means....choose whatever outfit for YOUR children that you and they want.
If you want to hand make it....great.
If you want to buy it from a shop....great.
As long as your child enjoyed their experience, WHO REALLY CARES?!
Can we not just...for once...put aside the incessant Mummy-One-Upmanship and allow the children to have fun without feeling the need to criticize other parents choices?!
WHO CARES how many Elsa's or Spidermans you saw on the school-run yesterday?!! More importantly...how many of them looked happy?! Did they look like they'd had a good time?! Do YOU know whether or not that little Elsa is going to go home and pick up a copy of The Snow Queen for the first time that night or if that little Spiderman is going to grow up to become the next Stan Lee?!
If YOU were one of those Mummies complaining about the costumes that other parents sent their children to school in yesterday....let me suggest some other things for you to spend your time worrying about:
*Climate change occurs 10,000 times faster than evolution
*The average person swallows 8 spiders per year in their sleep
*Each time you flush the toilet, bacteria travels at least 25 centimetres....even with the lid down.
*An average of 140,000 children go missing in the UK every year
Next time you find your mind so empty that you feel the need to fill it with the outfit choices other parents are making for their offspring, I suggest you concern yourself with any of those FAR more worrying issues instead.
In the words of good old Elsa and for want of a better expression....LET IT GO!!!!
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