The bang bang birthday club
Who is signing on for army birthday parties?
(Shawn Benjamin)
I have two sons. I understand the male need to do donkey bites and see who can push the other onto the floor while shouting “What, Bru?”

I have been caught in the damp crossfire of running water battles, and stumbled over teddy bears engaged in a wrestling match. I no longer fantasise that I will raise my sons with a more evolved sense of manhood and a heightened awareness of their role as pacifists in a violent world.

So it should have come as no surprise to me to receive a press release touting the fun to be had at an Army-themed birthday party.

But yet, it jars.

Yes, the army no doubt plays an important role in maintaining our freedom as a democracy and so forth. But I don’t want to see 6-year-olds crawling under a camo net or taking part in an activity called Yes Sir! Drill Sergeant! Sir! (I did not make that up, it is genuinely on offer.)

For once I am not banging on about gender roles. It just depresses me that we would think this is a great and fun way for a child to remember his (or her?) special day.

I suggest we trawl our imaginations for more peaceful party themes, in which boys and girls may still pour water on each other and crawl in mud. How about a planting party, which involves digging muddy trenches and planting greenery in them?  Or clay parties where everyone works together on a big piece of art and then has to be hosed down afterwards?

I am truly intrigued to know what kind of person would look at the long list of parties offered by the party planners and decide that “Army” would hit the spot.

Find more by Adele Hamilton.

Do you think army is a great theme for a kids’ party? Why on earth?

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