birthday

As part of their citizenship lessons, a school in Manchester explained to their 6 year old pupils what a referendum is and how it works.
The Pankhurst School designed a referendum that required a simple “Yes” or “No” vote. The teacher asked the class “Should children get presents for their birthdays?” “Yes” shouted most of the children, including John. Emily Gandee, the most popular child in class, said ‘No’. Emily and John were told to use the break as a time to persuade their classmates to vote like them. The vote would take place after break.
After break, John said that he hadn’t been able to speak to many children because Emily was handing out candy and he didn’t have any to give out himself.

John’s collected reasons for voting “Yes” were:

1. “My mum and dad show how much they love me with birthday presents”.
2. “if you don’t get presents on your birthday, then you only get presents once a year at Christmas”
3. “Because that’s the way it’s always been and it’s not fair to stop now”
Emily strode up to the front of the class and confidently gave her collected reasons for the ‘No’ vote:
1. “Mr Howell [the Headmaster] goes to the Kingdom Hall down the street. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness and he says he doesn’t celebrate birthdays because it’s a pagan thing.”
2. “I have a party on my birthday and we all dance. My family sing me happy birthday and we have a special cake. We make memories, not presents.”
3. “I get presents from my dad because he wants my affection. I’d rather have his time”

The result of the vote was 14 ‘No’ and 10 ‘Yes’. 6 children didn’t vote because they were in the toilet.
The teacher asked why some of the children had changed their minds during break. Reasons given were that Emily was their friend and she had asked them to vote with her. The sweets helped. Emily was also more enthusiastic about the vote than John. And she gave better reasons than John. If Mr Howard doesn’t get presents on his birthday then it’s not right that I do.
This shows that while a referendum allows everyone to vote to provide a clear answer to a political question, providing a mandate for controversial policies, it can be driven by strong personalities and money spent on campaigns (Emily and her sweets). John’s campaign was not financed at all.
The low ‘turnout’ for the vote distorted results. This clearly favoured the ‘No’ supporters. There were still significant ‘Yes’ votes, but who knows how their wishes will be safeguarded.
 

Whether it be a gift for their birthday or a joint present for to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Here are some ideas for gifts that will surprise your parents whatever the occasion.
 
Put it in writing

letter
When was the last time you told your parents you love them? Sit down and handwrite a letter on nice paper or in a card to tell them how much you love and admire them. Thank them for their support and encouragement in your life. Be specific about events and let them know their actions and advice have had a positive influence on your life. Let them know of occasions that they made you laugh, apologise for occasions you made them cry. End with a promise that you endeavour to be the best son/daughter you can be and that you wish to make them proud.
 
Anniversary party

party
If your parents are celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary, take on the responsibility of organising a party to mark the day. Arrange a party at the same venue where they held their wedding reception or a place that has special meaning to them both. Decorate the room with the same colours from their actual wedding day and repeat the flowers from the bride’s bouquet. This is a great way to spend time with your parents (a gift in itself) allowing them to reminisce about their wedding and married life.
The surprise for the party would be to invite those people at the wedding who your parents have not seen for years. Arrange for the bridesmaid or best man to turn up at the reception without your parents knowing in advance. Enlarge one of their best wedding photos, have it framed and display it at the party. This will become a gift they can treasure at home. If the photograph is faded or worn, arrange for this to be restored professionally or by someone who excels at photoshop.
 
Treasured gifts

gift
Spend time with your parents. That’s a precious gift on it’s own. If it’s not possible to see your parents on the day, send flowers. Flowers are symbolic of many characteristics like love, courage and integrity so choose those that have meaning for you in a bouquet or table arrangement.
For a treasured gift, a rose gilded in silver, gold or platinum represents the strength and longevity of your parents love. Displayed in their home, it will be a daily reminder of the love they have to share and the love that is held for them too.
Whatever gift you choose for your parents for whatever the occasion, your parents will appreciate the thought and effort you have made.