The Great Bumper-Sticker Debate

Is it proper to brag about one's kids in public?

Comments (43)

(39) Anonymous, September 12, 2011 4:55 PM

You know who you are

My father, of blessed memory, taught us the following principle to live by: "You know who you are." You don't need to let others know about you or your children's accomplishments. You should praise your children, but let others praise you/your children. You need not let others know how special your children are-one of the greatest pleasures is to hear others sing your children's praises. I believe in modesty, and the bumper stickers are merely an advertisement to the world, "Look at me! Look at how special my chldren are!" In light of the Rabbi's comment that we could have bumper stickers praising our children's kind acts, I think we should teach our children that acts of kindness should be made without the expectation of recognition.

Anonymous, September 13, 2011 4:28 PM



(38) Ms. J. Poler, August 28, 2011 11:57 PM

Don't agree! Could cause jalousie among friends, relatives, between the children. if you are so proud of your kid tel him/her how you feel and so fourth. Bragging about your children can can cause evil eye did you know that?? think about it.

(37) Carolyn, August 27, 2011 7:26 PM

It's the "my" I have a problem with.

One of the things I think a parent struggles with is the idea that because it is MY child, the accomplishment reflects MY accomplishment. To an extent, it does; however some times we forget that this child is an individual and needs to know that. Therefore, I would be less inclined to "brag" to others about his/her accomplishments and more inclined to thank G-d for this person I call MY kid and to tell MY kid how proud I am of his/her accomplishments.

(36) Anonymous, August 26, 2011 11:27 PM

I think it is inappropriate to brag in public.Let the child know how proud you are of him or her. Those who don't know you or your child don't really care. Tell your family and friends by allmeans but don't brag.There is a vast difference berween being proud of your child and bragging. How does someone whose child does not have the capacity to achieve those same heights feel when you brag ?I think some consideration should be given to who you are relating to.

(35) Dick Dennis, August 26, 2011 7:40 PM

. . . but you're leaving one thing out

I agree with you, Rabbi, but you're leaving one thing out. Your child would like to know that his parent loves him/her, is proud of him/her. And that is a small way to let your kid know that indeed you have much naches because of him/her. THAT's something to think about.

(34) Anonymous, August 26, 2011 11:18 AM

Nothing wrong with it

I don't look at it as bragging at all. It's a parent being proud of their kid's accomplishments. And parents do it all the time. This is just one way to show it.

(33) Sabina, August 24, 2011 12:35 PM

bumper stickers

Totally inappropriate. Put it on your refrigerator or home bulletin board. Mention it to your interested relatives or friends if you want to. The general public does not care.

(32) Gary Katz, August 24, 2011 3:09 AM

Beyond tacky

I once saw a bumper sticker that read, "My kid beat up your honor student." Ugh!

(31) Melanie Vliet, August 23, 2011 9:36 PM

I Approve!

I think it's important for children to know that they are loved and appreciated by their parents and that their parents are proud of them as persons and of the things they do. My son has certainly always known these things. I suspect that my input in this regard had something to do with his self-confidence, self-esteem, and ambition, which have resulted in his receiving numerous awards for speech and debate in high school and this May in his completion of his JD at only 23 years of age. These accomplishments are particularly noteworthy in view of the fact that in elementary school he was utterly non-academic and had to be forced to do his homework and to care about getting it right. We all need approval and encouragement, and I would think that only the most introverted among us would be embarrassed by such public praise.

(30) David handler, August 23, 2011 9:05 PM

It's good to be proud of your children, without the B(umper) S(ticker)

I think that it is important for a person to be proud of his achievements. On the other hand, he shouldn't brag. This creates an atmosphere of competition instead of absolute satisfaction. I have a number of children and grand-children. I'm proud of all of them. Each one for something else. I don't expect the 5 year old (who knows how to read Hebrew without nikud and many English words) to engineer a house like his father can. While his cousin draws like a very talented adult. Each child has their specialty and competition would get in the way of their self-image and may frustrate them. It's best to tell them how proud you are of their achievement(s) and not stick it in anyone else's face. BTW, I enjoy watching your clip every week and for the most part agree with you. Keep up the good work.

(29) Anonymous, August 23, 2011 8:26 PM

My child made the honor roll.( NYAH, NYAH, yours didn't!)

I liked what you said, Rabbi Solomon, about kindness and good deeds counting for something. I agree with what Shira said. I know firsthand how very painful it was to see those bumper stickers, parents bragging about their honor students, not considering that it might make some other people feel excluded and looked down upon. Why is it such a terrible crime in the Yeshivas to get a B on a report card? As if that is the only measure of a person? The real crime is when a respectful, kindhearted child is made to feel like an inadequate, unwanted outsider. Shame.

(28) chayah, August 23, 2011 8:15 PM

"MY SON....

the DOCTOR"....that's what it reminds of...My opinion of that is >FEH! By the Way, did I tell you my son is a DR.? HooHa! Seriously, let's not take everything so ....seriously!

(27) cvmay, August 23, 2011 8:13 PM


These 4 words sum up my thoughts on the subject. Whatever you want to display (without profanities, put downs or nastiness), go for it. Have an opinion, a praise, a warm thought, a patriotic it any different than displaying an American Flag on a national holiday or proud moment. If you want to let people know your child is on the honor role, I offer you a CONGRATS, the student might be in 10th grade, 16yrs of school and the first time he aced it. If you want to display your child's achievement in middos, athletics, effort, perseverance, -- Go for it..

(26) BRUCE, August 23, 2011 7:41 PM

I never made the honor role & have no children. but if I did I would be very proud & want to let every body know.

(25) Suzanne, August 23, 2011 7:12 PM

About the bumper sticker....

While I wouldn't say it's the worst thing in the world - I do find it a little annoying. The reason? Parents really don't have to go around broadcasting their child's accomplishements - recognition for that is usually granted on report card day or at various school award ceremonies.

(24) Nachum, August 23, 2011 6:31 PM

To the proud parent...So you think you are proud?

Of what? Your child's accomplishments? Well, have you told that to your child lately? If you have, then why do you need to tell everyone else? Doesn't that come off a bit bombastic? Now comes the $64 question. What if you haven't? (told your child.) Sounds as if you have a guilt complex growing within. I wonder if your child is proud of you? If not - do something that will bring that on.

(23) Mike W, August 23, 2011 6:16 PM

It's okay, of course!

I believe that letting the world know that your kid did well and acheived high marks at school can also inspire ther kids to do better at school. However, it can put a pressure on the child especially if the child can have difficulty in one, few, or other subjects. What could be the difference if parents have this shoutout on their Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace? It also says in the Bible that everything has its purpose and time under the heaven. It couls not all be praises. With regards to parents pressuring thier kids to the extreme, it would be the parents and their parenting that could be the problem. :) By the way, I'm a Christian and I love you guys.

(22) Anonymous, August 23, 2011 5:48 PM

I don't agree.

Any child worh his salt should be embarassed by his parents proud trumpeting.

(21) Michael, August 23, 2011 5:30 PM

Best bumper sticker ever...

My kids' preschool in Florida: "My child did a mitzvah at the Krieger Early Childhood Center."

(20) SusanE, August 23, 2011 4:47 PM

Taking it too Seriously.

Bumper stickers lie. Some say "My other Car is a Porche" - Some say "Protected by Smith and Wesson" - some say "Your ugly and your mother dresses you funny" - Some are pink ribbons for people who have never had cancer, some are Stars and Stripes when the owner certainly isn't patriotic. Some are for political parties. Thousands and thousands of them........ "My Kid's a Genius" is one that might be bragging or might be sarcastic. Personally, a bumper sticker that says "My Kid Made the Honor Roll" is telling more about the driver than the kid.

(19) Anita, August 23, 2011 4:14 PM


I've seen these bumper stickers all over cars. I've also seen the ones that say something to the effect of "my kid beat up your honor roll student". Now THAT'S taking it to an extreme. Yes we can be very proud of our kids. That's our future there. But what about the other type of bumper sticker like I related above? Is THAT something to be proud of, someone beats up a kid? I thought, especially here in the US, we were encouraging our kids to NOT be bullies, and yet here's this bumper sticker. Go figure, this IS something to think about.

(18) KOKO, August 23, 2011 4:04 PM

.. it seems we always take the GOOD for granted .....

This reminded me of a song lyric .... "And when we were good You just close your eyes So when we are bad We'll scar your minds" We truly need to praise everyone for the good they do ... BUT .. it seems we always take the GOOD for granted ... and become outraged at BAD behaviour ... Perhaps ... we should reverse this ... ignore the bad and praise the good ....

(17) Anonymous, August 23, 2011 3:28 PM

It's a personal trophy!

If you brag to people about your kids, and not just to close friends, but to the whole world, that is not tznius (tzanu'a) and it shows haughtiness (ga'ava). A better idea is to take that bumper sticker and ask the child if they want to put it on their wall in their room, as a trophy, or in their binder, so that they constantly remember that they are great and smart - and that their parents are proud of their achievements. But to rub it in everyone's faces is just inappropriate. Let the child learn to be proud internally and not have to show off to the world at large for his smarts. Teach your child to be humble.

(16) Malka, August 23, 2011 3:17 PM

Sometimes a Bumpersticker isn't a Cigar

Just because it's called a bumper sticker doesn't mean it HAS to go on your very publicly seen car bumper. There are lots of ways to let your child know how happy yo are about his or her accomplishments without involving a bunch of strangers who, at best, don't care. Remove the bumper sticker from its protective backing (or just use a bit of household tape) and apply it to your fridge or front door or somewhere else where it will be enjoyed by others who truly share your pride.

(15) Charles Zeigler, August 23, 2011 2:54 PM

bumper stickers

Rabbi Salomon, as far as bumper stickers go, I have no problem with them as long as they are not of a derogatory nature whether it be worded or pictured. On the vehicles my wife and I drive our bumper stickers let people know " we are proud grandparents of an autistic child".

(14) Jack, August 23, 2011 2:46 PM

What about his brother?

I know a family that has a bunch of these honor roll stickers on their bumper. Jimmy made the honor roll, then the next sticker says, AGAIN, and AGAIN, etc. There must be 7 or so stickers on there for this one child. I happen to know the honoree's younger brother who is not doing well in school. I can only imagine the impression this makes on this younger child when his parents parade through town with 7 stickers honoring his brother and none for him. Something to think about.

(13) Bernard Schneider, August 23, 2011 2:45 PM

Dear Rabbi Salomon, I am partial towards thoughtful opinions, and very much enjoyed reading yours. "Bragging" as such is not necessarily a bad thing, but it all depends on the circumstances. We talk about our children to our friends and family who have been part of our lives. But these public displays are meant to say something about ourselves, not our children: "I am a good parent because my children made honor roll." This, to me, is unseemly; not the least of which is that the conclusion as to being a good parent by no means follows from the premise. Even more grating is that the school is promoting itself, since the criteria for making making middle school honor roll has been notably relaxed in these times. Lastly, my sense of Judaism and learning is Torah Leshmo--learning for its own sake, to become a lifelong learner. Collecting random certificates along the way seems to me to not be the direction in which we want to raise our children. Best regards, Bernard Schneider

(12) Anonymous, August 23, 2011 2:36 PM

Multiple children in family

I don't care for these bumper stickers at all. What about the family that has multiple children who all try their very best but don't all make the honor role? How does that make the child that didn't make the honor roll feel? If one must brag publicly about one's children, I prefer the bumper sticker that says "My child is a mentch."

(11) Anonymous, August 23, 2011 2:27 PM

You forget that the main reason for those stickers other than making the parent feel proud is to make money for the school. It is no different then you advertise that your child goes to a certain college

(10) Michael Fenton, August 23, 2011 2:24 PM

I think the bumper sticker is ok especially if making the honor roll was a first time achievement for a underperforming student. It tells this student that his parents are proud of him and encourages him to continue to achieve.

(9) Anonymous, August 23, 2011 12:45 PM

child esteem vs school

i think the bumper stickers are meant to advertise the school. here we have bumper stickers that say " my son is a masmid at ..." anyone can get them, its a way for the schools to build their egos stating that we have great kids that go to our school. so , more advertising for the school than the child.

(8) peter kraynik, August 23, 2011 8:21 AM

MY (G-ds ), child

There is usually somebody better. Not many are at the top. Proverbs 16:18-19 Pride goes before ruin, Arrogance, before failure. Better to be humble and among the lowly Than to share spoils with the proud. There are ceremonies for the TRULY,gifted,accomplished, at the proper time and place.

Mike W, August 23, 2011 6:21 PM

I can agree with you. :)

(7) Shira, August 23, 2011 2:03 AM

What about the parents who are struggling for their child to pass school, or the parents who are trying to keep they're child from not dropping out? How do they fell when they're waiting for the traffic light behind this car? This is what we're flaunting? We need to get our priorities straight.

(6) Rosen, August 23, 2011 12:27 AM

distracting bumper stickers

Sometimes bumper stickers can be too distracting and TMI on what is on the motorist's mind...There are many bumper stickers out there promoting Christianity where some can be offended by it as if Christianity is essentially like a bumper sticker when it comes to "spreading the gospel."...I used to have a small poster on the window of my car that called for protecting Israel and the Jewish people from a nuclear Iran, however, I may have been disclosing a bit TMI of what was on my mind, and a Christian missionary once approached me while I had it on, offering me a pamphlet regarding "what can the bible teach us?" Frankly, I find such proselytizing as a form of fascism. All in all, one ought to be careful about how he/she expresses him/herself since we can't know how it would be taken the wrong way...On the other hand, there are plenty of other bumper stickers out there that can be thought-provoking and/or inspiring such as "the earth doesn't belong to us - we belong to the earth."

(5) Holly, August 22, 2011 5:00 PM

Lashon Hara

I think this may actually fall under the heading of "Praise that should not said". Every parent is proud of their child, but sometimes these bumper stickers can cause more harm than the good of building your child's self esteem. Other parents may see it and react negatively as Lisa mentioned. I know there are parents who would see that and then go home to their child and say, "So and so is on the honor roll, why aren't you?" This can cause friction in the family between the parents and child which didn't need to be there. I have to agree with Lisa, keep this within the family. Bragging about your child's accomplishments is just going to bring resentment and gossip your way.

(4) eva, August 22, 2011 3:25 AM

build self-esteem

It's more important for your child to hear you praising him to others, than to him. It tells him that you are proud of him, what could be better for his self-esteem?

David Gr, August 23, 2011 4:41 PM

On building self esteem

I agree wholeheartedly! We need to encourage our children in any way we can. With our schools in the shape they are in, any efforts to support scholastic achievement should be strongly supported.

(3) Chavi, August 21, 2011 2:48 PM

talk to you kid

As an educator,I believe it is important to speak to your child first and get his take on it. Some children glow in the knowledge that their parents are so proud of them and want to proclaim it to the world. That can be a powerfully reinforcing message to the child and will boost the child's self- esteem immeasurably. But there are some children who will find it to be very threatening, at the very least. "These expectations are so high! It was a fluke; it was just luck. I don't think I can do it again. I can't possibly live up to these expectations. What if I don't do as well next semester? I will be so embarassed. I will disappoint my parents, teachers and friends!" That pressure and fear will usually result in the child suddenly, deliberately sabotaging his efforts and failing on purpose in order to quickly disabuse his parents and teachers of their intolerably high expectations of the child that he is not confident that he can maintain. The pressure on the child to consistently perform on a higher level is too hard and comes with too much pressure, and he needs to immediately divest himself of everyone's expectations so that he will not embarrass himself in the future. The distinction between these two types of children is the degree of self confidence that each has or doesn't have. By discussing the issue with the child before doing anything, the parent can get a better sense of the child's self image, and if the parent realizes that the child is uncomfortable with the idea, he knows that he needs to address the issue of his child's self confidence, and skip the bumper sticker..

(2) rachel, August 21, 2011 1:25 PM

breed jealousy

Showing off anything in public is bound to bring negative responses. From experience it brings jealousy and helps provide a setting for an inflated ego. If things are kept in a more quiet private domain, and the once super star fails at a later stage, there will be less to be ashamed of as not many people knew of his success.

(1) lisa, August 21, 2011 8:45 AM

Our nachas does not need 4 wheel drive!!!!

I think these messages belong on the family fridge. You never know who will read this...maybe someone who just got a phone call that their child is not smart enough to stay in his school....or perhapes has ADHD & will never be a success academically. It could be hurtful. What about also being an ayin hara? These bright bragging bumper stickers are also a boost for the particular school. Some of my kids make honor roll but the only ones who need to know it are his parents & Savta & Saba!!!!

Sharon, August 21, 2011 8:07 PM

My sentiments exactly!

And Rabbi Solomon's friend did not over-react. He was asked to think about it and formulated an opinion. It's not like he wrote a bumper sticker opposing the use of bumper stickers to brag about kids.


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