As I walked through the parking lot at the mall, I could not help but notice the great bumper stickers on the rear of many vehicles. Two especially caught my eye.
One bumper sticker was adhered to a family-sized van. The bumper sticker read "Proud parents of honor roll student at ABC elementary school." I have seen many stickers like that and always think how nice it is that parents display their pride in their child's accomplishments.
Many schools distribute those bumper stickers free of charge to each student who makes the honor roll. The PTA of the school can also sponsor bumper stickers by selling them as a fund raiser or as an item in their school store.
When I saw that sticker on the van, I had a good feeling about the parent and child who wrote in the van. The child must be doing well in school to make the honor roll and the parent must be supportive and caring.
Now, I could be wrong and the owner of the van might be a child molester who bought the van with the sticker already on it. But I prefer my original thought.
I then walked a few more steps in the parking lot and saw another bumper sticker. This one read, "My kid beat up your honor roll student."
Once again, I tried to imagine the parent who put that message on that car. I cannot tell much from the dark blue Chevrolet sedan. It was just a normal everyday car. It had no child seats, no scratches or dents, no big sign in the window saying "A stupid parent drives this car."
There was a fleeting moment when I thought of hanging around the parking lot to see who came to drive the car away. But I had a vision of the next day's headlines. "Newspaper columnist in an argument on mall parking lot." So, I went to my own car and drove away muttering to myself.
Picture the parent who rides in the first van. She takes pride in the fact that her son or daughter is on the honor roll. Now picture the parent who owns the second car. She takes pride in the fact that her son or daughter beats up other children. This parent is not only proud of it, she announces it to the whole world on a bumper sticker.
I believe that most parents do not encourage their children to fight. Most parents are ashamed when their son or daughter uses violence against another child. Most parents let their children know that they had better never hit first.
But there are some parents would think that their son or daughter is a sissy if they don't choose fighting when they tried to solve the problem. Actually, there are some parents who are proud of their son or daughter when they come home and tell the parent that they gave another kid a black eye.
I figured out a long time ago that parents who have children who fight are missing the point. They are raising children who are handicapped in the worst way. They cannot make their way through the world without hurting others. They have their priorities all screwed up.
Perhaps the parent who put the "my kid beat up your honor roll student" sticker on the car did it just for fun. She was walking through a store one day and saw the sticker and thought it would get a lot of laughs. Some people laugh at the weirdest thing.
I have a message for the parents who drove those cars. For the parent of the van: Keep up the good work. Teach your child that education is important and that people without brains might get jealous of him as he succeeds in life.
When your child is 35 years old, he will be able to put a bumper sticker on his brand-new Mercedes that reads, "I made the honor roll in school, got beat up by another kid, but now I am driving this Mercedes and he is still riding his bicycle to the welfare office."
For the parent of the dark blue Chevy, get ready to have your child around the house for a long time.
(If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of this newspaper.)