We’ve all seen — and sometimes shunned — them.
You know the type. The bumper sticker says “My Child is an Honor Roll Student at Insufferable High.” Their rear windows and front yards feature stickers and signs proclaiming their offspring’s excellence in athletics. Their social media feeds stream with photos of shiny, happy children and grandchildren doing amazing things from saying “pasghetti” adorably to carrying a ball into the end zone.
The thing is I’ve been one, too.
Like most parents I am extremely proud of my children when they do well and make good choices. I’m also realistic and properly humbled when they do not. If they weren’t human how could we really trust they were OURS after all?
OK to brag
We all aspire NOT to be the insufferable braggart who goes on and on about the perfection of their own special snowflakes (because their children, like snowflakes, are unique and rare individuals).
On the other hand I personally thrill to the news of young people making good choices. I enjoy seeing the children and grandchildren of family, friends, former classmates, and the community at large do well.
In a time when the news might have us believe that teens are good only for sullen song lyrics, drug use, criminal mischief or sexting, it is nice to be reminded that every day the majority of young people are doing pretty well.
One acquaintance, posting to her own social media feed, felt the need to open with an apology for being proud of her young grandson’s touchdown on the new-to-him gridiron. I could only think that it’s a great day when we can enjoy news of kids doing well.
My own children are sometimes the subject of some pretty embarrassing anecdotes shared with many. Your mom is a writer, they say. That sounds like fun, they say.
I, too, tend to say “Parental Brag Alert” before sharing any news about the Small (now Teen) Wonders. When they do well academically or athletically or are just pretty nice people — I’m proud of that.
I recently shared a news clip about GirlWonder’s soccer prowess on social media and felt both embarrassed and relieved when it was met with a copious amount of “likes.” Then I decided to just own my pride. She works hard and has since she was much younger. As long as she doesn’t let it go to her head, she deserves the accolades when the shot goes just perfectly right.
Recently I watched a player from an opposing soccer team soundly chastised and disciplined for showing excitement when his teammate scored. I don’t know the back story. Maybe the player had been struggling lately? Maybe he had never scored before?
What I do know is that the referee, reacting to the loud shouts of the scorer’s name very gruffly and brooking no nonsense made it clear that “excessive celebration” would not be tolerated.
You know what? I have an issue with that? We “excessively celebrate” all the ways young people can make poor choices and lead lives that go wrong. Why then are we not celebrating when good kids have good — even great — moments?
Why do many of the stories we read and hear in local media have to be have to be self-submitted or involve the homecoming court to make it in print? If a child wants to literally give a “shout out” to his teammate, why is that so wrong? Ditto when a parent does it.
If you start looking around your church, school, and community you might be surprised how many great young people are performing well academically and athletically. How many are supporting valiant fundraising goals and taking part in performing arts. When was the last time you applauded your local high school band?
For some of you, it may have been recently; for too many, it may have been decades.
No longer am I going to apologize for being proud of the great young people in my life — and yours. This expands beyond our own and into the community at large.
I think we should embrace our bragging rights and give the good people making good choices the accolades — and respect — they deserve. I am making it a point to “catch” our teens and tweens doing a great job and commending them — and their parents, guardians and employers too.
As far as I am concerned, excessive celebration is never too much.
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