Life lessons occasionally come in neatly tied packages. Once, a group of mostly sweet 7-year-old girls gathered for a holiday gift party. They set all their prettily wrapped-and-ribboned presents under a tree while they exchanged pleasantries and sipped juice from china teacups. They patted cookie crumbs from the corners of their mouths with real cloth napkins. I believe pinkies were raised.
It was lovely. But when the mom in charge announced it was time to choose a gift, decorum was ditched faster than you can say Ms. Manners. Paper flew. Ribbons ripped. There were squeals of delight and groans of disappointment. One kid, stunned by the Jekyll/Hyde turn of events, stood in the corner fighting back tears.