Those student-of-the-month bumper stickers popular with the SUV set once annoyed me.
I found them too boastful.
What's next, I thought, affixing your kid's MBA to the back window?
That is until I became a, um, "proud parent." My kindergartner came home last week announcing that she was named Student of the Month.
In fact, her glorious bumper sticker hid in a folder behind assorted items trumpeting her achievement. Best among them: a certificate, complete with gold seal, confirming her genius. Then there was a coupon for a free pizza. And, rather impressively, an invitation to lunch with the principal.
But after we ate our free pie and heard all about lunch on the school lawn with the big man, that sticker remained unstuck on the dining room table. But we couldn't shake it. It's as if it was trying to will itself onto one of our bumpers.
My daughter inquired about when we would be displaying her achievement on our cars.
I made eye contact with my wife, which is how parents often speak to each other in front of kids, unsure of how to reply.
My wife took the lead, saying she would affix the sticker to her car, clearly sparing my image.
"When?" my daughter asked.
"Soon," my wife said.
I am pretty sure she meant it, but so far the sticker is still affixed to its wax paper backing instead of her mint-green bumper.
We are no longer too cool for bumper stickers, but we struggle with boasting. My wife was raised in a proper house and taught not to brag. I grew up in a Catholic home where boasting resulted in a trip to the confessional.
So it's in neither of our natures to say, "Look at me," and even less so to say, "Look at my kid."
But is it wrong to brag about your kid's achievements?
Of course not. Those stickers, it turns out, are more for the children than they are for the parents (I think).
And what do you do when your little one wants you to show the world how proud you are?
You do what most parents do and stick that sticker on your car.
JOHN CANALIS is the editor for the Daily Pilot, Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot and Huntington Beach Independent. He can be reached at (714) 966-4607 and email@example.com.