Party inviteOr in the playground. I write this as my heart aches for the five-year-old son of a friend, who this week stood expectantly in his school playground as a fellow pupil’s mum dished out birthday party invitations, only to find he wasn’t invited.

So crushed was he at being excluded, and in such a public manner, that he didn’t want to go into school, leaving his poor mum to pick up the pieces. What is wrong with people? If you can’t (or won’t) invite the whole class to Jimmy’s birthday celebrations, why not hand the invites to the teacher who can – discreetly – put the envelopes in the school bags of the selected few?

Perhaps the mum in question prefers the tough love approach, or perhaps a similar thing happened to her as a child and she is taking some sort of revenge. Or, more likely, she just didn’t think.

Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised if the experience has scarred my little friend for life. A similar thing happened to me when I was eight, and I’ll never forget the girl in question, or her mum.

But every cloud has a silver lining – with a bit of luck the ordeal (because that’s what it is through the eyes of a five-year-old) will lead my little friend to be more compassionate and sensitive to other people’s feelings than he might otherwise have been, and ultimately become a more rounded individual.

It’s just a shame the mum couldn’t have been the same in the first place.