A friend recently sent me this photo she came across, I think in equal parts because it irritated her, AND because people like to send me things that they think will irritate me, as an impetus for a new blog post. (Irritated Jen = Writing Jen)
And she was right, because the photo did irritate me. I sat on it for awhile though, and looked at it again, and looked at it through different perspectives. And…. yeah, it still irritates me.
I get it, I think. I don’t actually think the intention is a bad one. I think it’s likely an antidote to the “Proud parent of an honor student, blah blah” (I have my beef with those stickers too). I think it’s likely just saying, “Hey, my kid’s not perfect, but that’s okay, and I love him anyway.”
But here’s the thing: Aside from not being particularly nice, stickers like this promote childism in the biggest way. When was the last time you saw a bumper sticker saying, “My wife sure is a bitch sometimes, but I love her anyway?” Most rational people would see something like that and recognize that it’s not cool. Or kind. Or productive. But we live in a society where it is not only accepted, but celebrated, to treat kids as lesser than. To treat kids with less respect and less kindness than we’d treat other family members. To treat kids with less consideration for their feelings than we’d extend to other loved ones. To treat kids as less than human.
Are children – any children – perfect? Of course not. They’re human beings. Are adults – any adults – perfect? Of course not. They’re human beings. We all have our moments, to be sure. I’m sometimes less than kind to my husband, and he’s sometimes less than kind to me (Ask us about the recent nearly knock-down drag out fight about asparagus…. except maybe don’t, because I’m not sure all parties are ready to joke about it yet) Everyone has their ugly (re: HUMAN) moments. The difference is, in real life, we accept this and work through it and deal with it in a healthy way. We don’t make announcements about it on our cars.
Stickers like this may seem completely innocent, and funny even. But in order to accept them, we need to be honest with ourselves and recognize that while sure, it’s dealing with a genuine human condition, it is also unfair and childist, and singling children out in a unkind and hurtful way. We need to be honest with ourselves and recognize the fact that very few people would be okay and/or humored by this if it singled out wives, or girlfriends, or husbands, or parents.
Until we, as a society, can do that, maybe it’s a message best left off our cars.