Something really good happened to my son this week. I'm really proud of his accomplishment. I wanted to brag so I called his grandparents. I also told my best friend who happened to call me as I was reading the letter that brought the good news. I wanted to shout the great news from the rooftops and tell anyone else who would listen but I didn't. Why? Because I'm not a bragger.
I'm not a big fan of braggers. (Especially social network braggers)
I think that they brag because:
1. They are truly happy or excited about the thing.
2. They want others to be happy for them.
3. They want others to be jealous of them.
What happens when someone far removed brags (especially on social networking?)
1. People are truly happy or excited for them
2. People are jealous of them
3. People think negative thoughts about them
I'm at the age where many of my friends have kids in the high school/college stage. This seems to be the height of bragging age. My real friends tell me the highs and lows of their parenting lives. I feel true joy for their triumphs and real empathy for the-not-so great news with regards to their children. I've never felt a negative or jealous feeling when someone that I really care about has something great happen to them.
That being said, when Facebook friends start bragging about their straight A student or their child's acceptance to the Junior honor society, I'm not that happy for them. Sometimes, I even have negative thoughts like "I can't believe the jughead who used to call his Dad "A-hole" at the playground is now making the Princiapal's honor roll" or worse. I'm not a jealous person. I truly believe that I would not want to trade lives with anyone on the planet but there is something about bragging that really rubs me the wrong way.
Bruce Feiler in an article in the New York Times titled A Truce in the Bragging Wars discussed the fact that Mommy bloggers only agree on one thing, that parents should stop bragging about their kids. He even set out guidelines for acceptable bragging (i.e. brag about effort, brag in context, brag to granny)
Feiler goes on to say that Parents want to brag because parenting is such a scary road and they want reassurance that they are doing well. I'm not sure that this is the case. I think it is because it really, really sucks when things are not going well with your kids. Whether the problems with your kids are tiny (when my two year old bit a kid at pre-school almost every day, I thought I was a complete disaster as a mother) or the problems are bigger and more dangerous (as problems with older children often are), it is very hard to be happy. When you see a bad report card, it makes you feel worse than the subject of the report. When your child screws up, it makes you feel like you failed. So when your child accomplishes something whether it be peeing in the potty or getting into college, it is hard not to feel like it is your accomplishment too.
How do you feel about bragging?