Can’t stand it when parents post a snap of their kids’ medals, trophies, report cards and awards? Neither can I. Do they also publicly boast about their children’s honesty, modesty, compassion, humor or kindness? These are the parents who teach their kids that “volunteering” will build a resume, not character.
In my house, we taught our son that it was rude to brag, and to keep the good news to only a few family members or close friends so as not to make anyone, ever, feel “less than.” We expected that he work hard, take pride in his accomplishments, but shouldn’t give either himself or us an inflated sense of importance. In doing this, we also taught that there are many things which are not generally rewarded that we truly value–persistence, self reliance, emotional literacy, and caring for others, for example.
Social media has created its own set of angst – producing neuroses. Alternative therapists like me treat this phenomenon. Kids can see the pictures of the parties they’re not invited to. When competitive or defensive parents feel compelled to share widely their children’s successes, they conversely send their young adults and children the dangerous message–to expect accolade, to “perform” tasks for the evaluation rather than the love of it, and to inflate everyone involved’s egos perhaps disproportionately. Then, when there’s nothing to “post,” who’s to blame and how’s everyone feeling about it? And, by the way, how do those whose children, siblings or parents feel who haven’t reached this particular pinnacle?
It’s all become a math game. How many “friends” do you have? How many “Likes” on your post? In some high schools, it’s not enough to have an “A” average. Schools are looking for the 104 averages–the better than great students. How exhausting.
My son has volunteered as an EMT for more than 13 years. He’s saved lives, delivered babies, held the hands of the dying, shown kindness to victims. He’s even gotten a plaque for it. I’ve never actually seen it; it will never be on Facebook, and I’m sure that no one at his office (the “real job”) knows about it.