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!