Carla Rants. Bumper Stickers and Kids
Sorry this is a little late. Gallbladders, Vaginas and Facebook took priority this afternoon. Carla will understand, I feel certain.
However with out further adieu—may I introduce Cousin Carla’s Wednesday Rant.
I always say I can never get a tattoo because I can’t commit to a certain philosophy or thought long enough to even put a bumper sticker on my car. Have you seen some of the bumper stickers people put on their cars? The political stickers are the best. Do people not realize the election will be long over and their car will still have some idiot’s (because win or lose, they are all idiots eventually) name or slogan still plastered on the back of their car. The names of bands long broken up, defunct radio stations and out of business stores adorn the bumpers of cars nationwide. The Christian stickers amuse me. I love, “It’s okay to pray . . . in the name of Jesus.” I always want to put on an additional sticker that says “or in the name of Allah, Buddha, Mohammed, Isis, Mother Earth, etc . . .” Maybe it is just a Southern thing, but we also have the all time favorite, “It’s okay to say Merry CHRISTmas.” Again, I want to add “or Happy Hanukkah, or Celebrate Kwanza or even Good Festivus” for the Seinfeld fans.
I always notice the stickers that say, “I’m proud of my Honor Student.” Wow! Good for you. How hard is it to be proud of your Honor Student? I think I could probably commit to a sticker that says, “I’m proud of my lazy, under-achieving, slacker child.” That thought made me laugh. Then I started thinking about it andI realized that I was proud of my non-honor student kid. I had to dig a little, but I found that I was very proud. I admired that he didn’t feel the need to grow up too fast. He wasn’t trying to push himself all the time because he liked to have fun and act his age. I also was proud that he was loyal to his friends. Now, I realized that sometimes this loyalty got him into trouble. He got detentions for defending friends from perceived injustices, he was sent to the Dean for playing a little too rambunctiously with friends, he was almost suspended for getting into a verbal altercation with a teacher for using the word “gay” to describe something stupid. I was also proud of him for loving his sister to the point of picking a fight with me to deflect any hostilities I was having with her.
Once a kid graduates, the parents change their bumper stickers. Now it is all about “My Child goes to (Fill in the blank) University” or “Proud Parent of a (fill in the mascot).” Again, I think, well, how hard is that? Try finding a way to be proud of a kid who didn’t stay at the University, went back to Community College and was still trying to find his way three years after graduation. Well, I am proud. I’m proud that he didn’t latch onto a career that would make a lot of money but would take a lot of time away from his future family. I’m proud that he didn’t settle on something that was easy for him just so he could say he finished college. I’m proud that he had the guts to admit that he was unhappy away from home. He faced both friends and strangers with his head held high, unwilling to give in to the perception that he had somehow failed.
So, I guess my rant, although it is written about bumper stickers, is against people who measure their success as a parent by the academic accomplishments of their children. How about instead of using that old yardstick we begin measuring our parental accomplishments using a scale that weighs responsibility, loyalty, compassion, honesty and an ability to be true to oneself.
Depending on whose units of measurement one uses, I am either a great parent or the knock on my door could be DCF coming to drag me away.
Thanks for letting me rant. This thing with Project Graduation has me constantly hearing from parents about their children’s GPAs, college acceptances, scholarship opportunities and class rankings. I have to be honest, I have no idea what Abby’s standing is, but she is one happy puppy!