Australians as a society like to remind people not to get "too big for their boots".
Reminding people to be realistic about their talents, skills and value in life is not a bad thing in itself.
But in the extreme being a society of 'knockers' means people can be reluctant to give and receive realistic feedback and appreciation. Or worse, become bullies who undermine others sense of worth and purpose in life.
If we are down-to-earth and realistic that is different. We can take some credit for who were are but not all - because we are all dependent on other people in some way …… especially on our own family and friends.
Against this background, it can require courage and humility to initiate such an event for the sake of your partner, children and grand-children and/ or extended family.
This is a case where the family or friends of the "guest or guests of honour" can initiate and organise the event. Not necessarily as a big surprise, although the style of the occasion could be kept hush. See the TCN article on surprise ceremonies.
In this fast changing world, we are losing our traditional structures for saying "thanks - we appreciate you"
Huge changes in patterns of employment mean people's occupations change, jobs are on short contracts, or people are self employed or work from home. Many workers feel unappreciated in a climate of business wanting work for less pay.
So where then do our men (and women) get their "pats on the back" and "the 40 year gold watch", when really their family and friends are the main people who have followed their careers and in many ways benefitted from those?
Big changes in structure of families due to increased life spans and economic pressures, with adult children staying at home longer, caring for parents as they age and especially grandparents taking part-time or full-time care for grand-chlildren. This means older couples no longer have the freedom to "do their own things" as they once might. Whilst this is often the product of their love, it still deserves a special "thanks - we appreciate you"
As an increasingly secular society, we have lost the times where our past attendance at religious services would have reminded us of the importance of mothers (on mothers day) fathers (on fathers day), of being neighbourly (the good samaritan or the equivalent), of giving to the poor (through charity collections) etc., of the value of the seasons in our lives and of the gift of life itself.
However our civil society has picked up many of these important values in the form of National or International Days. These days can be used too as family based events to say "thanks - we appreciate you" to mum or dad, pop or nana, aunty or uncle, son or daughter etc.
So it is vital that our family based events pick up this need, particularly for "words of affirmation"*
Start planning now
Use a birthday, wedding anniversary (two for the price of one :-), Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparent's Day, Neighour Day, Carers Week, etc.
* As defined by Gary Chapman Author of the 5 Love Languages