Monday, October 27, 2008

rolling billboards

I truly cannot stand seeing those bumper stickers that say "my child is an honor student at...". Who cares but you? And the grandparents? What if the kid now is pressured to stay in honor society because you've put their achievement on a rolling billboard. But those aren't the worst things I see that really irk me. It's the baseball or soccer ball or batter or football player or gymnast or name your sport and its image. Now picture the kid's name under or beside that image. Besides the fact that I'm philosophically opposed to kids in team sports before middle school, these window dressings are a gross form of pride. As if the parent has no identity other than the chauffeur of their little Jack and Jill to and from practice and games all the time. "Look at me, my kids are on the *&^%^&'s and I get to drive them back and forth and probably yell at the coach and the ref or ump and make a general nuisance of myself while wondering why I have no life". Are these window stickers fundraising materials? I hope so. I truly hope they don't decorate/desecrate their $50,000 Escalade just to be able to find theirs in the parking lot along with all the other high dollar SUV's, even, God forbid, Porsche SUV's! Maybe the kid should have a sticker on his bat or bat bag or maybe his soccer ball that has a picture of the Escalade, or maybe the Cadillac symbol, and his dad's name under it! How about on their book bag or school desk "my parents apparently love me more because I'm in the honor society". 
I really don't think most parents' love is conditional, I really don't, but man, it sure seems that way. "Son, you need to join a team with a cool logo because I've still got a little space in the back window of the Hummer". "I have no life, I didn't achieve much, but I'm going to make sure you do, and to help you along, I'm going to give as much attention to your achievements in first grade as I will to you graduating from high school or college or making it into law school or med school or whatever. I've set the bar so high right up front that there is no way to distinguish the big achievements from the little ones." It's like I've blogged about birthday parties - don't make their first few birthdays such big affairs that you're going to have to go to Disneyworld to celebrate #5 because you blew it so big early on. Save yourself. Chill. 
Acknowledge privately your happiness that Susie is on the honor roll or that Bobby plays on a baseball team that is successful. The bumper sticker just adds a cheesy note to the whole accomplishment or activity and is embarrassing. Maybe grandmothers should be exempt from my recommended ban on child-praising bumper stickers and window decals. Kids are way too self-focused today as it is without their parents confirming their lofty opinions of themselves so blatantly and without tact. Put the sticker on the refrigerator with the finger painting and other 'gifted' artwork and accomplishments. Then don't drive your refrigerator around town. You will like your kids a lot more if you don't put them on pedestals at all, but definitely not at young ages and for achievements of dubious merit or significance. I think I'll take a poll of kids and ask them how they feel about all these 'isn't my kid great'  displays. My bet: they agree with me!

1 comment:

the.fortes said...

Good point! My parents never had stickers all over their car showcasing my talents. I hadn't even seen the sports decals with the names below them until I moved to Edmond, but I am sure they are everywhere. I think parents think that by doing everything they possibly can for their child (holding 24-7 and never letting them cry as a baby to making sure junior has all the right gadgets and is "happy" all the time) and making sure the child thinks the parents are awesome (because they have spoiled them) that they are showing true love. They don't think always of how the child is developing and maturing (yes, even if they tell you they hate you...which I am not looking forward to, but I did it to my mom and now we are friends...but we weren't back then). It's hard to do when everyone else's kids have everything and think that the world works like that. Parents have some big challenges now just like they always have. We had friends buy a smaller home than they can afford to show their daughter that you don't always get/have the best. It was a great example to us of wanting your child to learn from your actions even if you have to give up the big expensive things you want.