Over the weekend my sister asked me if our Elementary has the “you have to invite the whole class to your kid’s birthday party” rule.  

My first thought was…Who the heck came up with that, and why do they want to torture me with 25 extra first-graders??!!”

Buuuuuuuut… I just said, “No.”

The conversation quickly moved to other topics, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how this “Inclusion Rule” seems to be the newest edition of the participation trophy.


It seems like we are trying to sell them this idea that no matter what they do, how they act or how hard they play, that it is good enough…but the truth is, that isn’t how it works.  

In fact, by telling them this, we are raising kids who expect things to happen FOR them instead of teaching them to work hard to get what they want.

FACT:  Life isn’t “even.”  And YOU DON’T WANT IT TO BE!

Think about it.  When you have a party for yourself, does your boss come to your desk and say, “Hey, Sally.  You know that party you are having this weekend?  About that…You are going to have to invite the whole office, cause thems the rules.”


No, your boss doesn’t do that.  And thank God!  Who wants to be forced to hang out with people they don’t want to be around???  

The answer is no one.  No one wants that.

And if we make our kids live in a world where they have to hang out with kids they don’t like, then the bullying and hatefulness that this rule was created to minimize WILL ONLY BE MAGNIFIED MORE!  

You see, as adults, we’ve come to the realization that we are drawn to certain people.  To borrow a phrase from this beautiful, bearded man, “We get to pick who is in our tribe.”


Yet here we are force-feeding our kids the idea that they must be included/inclusive in all things because the alternative is just “not nice” or “not fair.”

But I promise you that the hoped-for result to have everyone liked and accepted in one big happy group is not what actually plays out in the schoolyard.  It is, in fact, just the opposite.

And I got news for ya, if we don’t stop doing this, we will not only widen the gap between tribes, but we will also produce the greatest generation of entitled little butts our world has ever seen.  (And people think Millennials are bad… 😛 )

As the parent of an Elementary student, let me just say this:  To force these Utopian rules of inclusion on our kids is to FAIL THEM.

Because let’s face it, we are not all the same.  And if we could stop pretending for one second that we are, that would be great.  

Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying.  I’m not arguing that one person or group is better than another.

What I am saying is that each person IS DIFFERENT from every other.

We do not all act the same.

We don’t like the same things.

And we don’t enjoy being in a room with the same people.

And, guys, there is nothing wrong with that!

So instead of feeding our kids the rubbish that they all need to be the same people and do the same things, why don’t we encourage their differences and help them to find their own tribes? 

Let’s make them understand that everyone isn’t going to like them or want to be their friend…AND THAT’S OKAY.  

By telling them the truth and encouraging them to be themselves, we will inspire them to find the tribe that fills them instead of pushing them toward people who will only drain them.

The fact is, teaching our kids that invitations and trophies are just handed out, regardless of how they choose to act, is teaching them that they don’t really have to try.  

And teaching them they don’t have to try is teaching them to settle for mediocrity.  

And in all of history, a life of mediocrity has never produced a world-changer.

Let’s do better for them.  They are worth more than mediocre.