So what negative thing happened to my Psyche as a result of seeing the angry overly-physical mom yelling at the out of control unruly kids at the grocery store? I unwisely, rediculously, illogically experienced feelings of pride in my own parenting.
Now this pride was wrong-minded for two reasons, the first one having to do with a subject that I have touched on in my Judging article, to wit: I had no way of knowing what kind of circumstances that family had been in. There may be very good reasons why those kids were out of control and the mom had lost it – and, you know – there but for the grace of God go I.
But let’s say we could neglect that pride discouraging idea and assume that, no, there was no good reason for the Mom to have lost control of herself and her kids like that. Okay. There’s still a good reason why any pride I felt having seen that situation was foolish. Here it is:
Jamsco, should it give you any kind of gladness that you are a better parent than the worst parent you have ever personally witnessed?
And the answer comes back – No.
No, Jamsco, actually you should hold your parenting up to a somewhat higher standard. You should try to do better than just better than the worst.
So Supermarket Pride is pride where there should be none. Where you are comparing yourself to something everyone agrees is quite bad.
I think this is a fairly common problem in our culture (perhaps all of humanity) and it would be helpful to have this pointed out to us. But our culture does the opposite – it markets for those who want to experience supermarket pride.
So those who watch Jerry Springer (or used to – is it still on? And by the way, no, I’ve never watched it) watch it because they want to feel better than those losers who humiliate themselves on it. “At least I’m not that bad! Right, Honey?”
This is why half of the reality shows are popular. This is why we have so much glee when a famous person does something foolish publicly, or when a contestant can’t talk about student geography deficiencies coherently.
I used to think that Target did this intentionally with the Bratz dolls. Certainly no one would be so foolish as to buy something like that for a daughter. Target must be putting them on sale as a public service to help its shoppers feel like good parents because they don’t buy them. But actually this isn’t true; evidently there are some who actually buy them for their pre-teen girls.
Wait! Stop! You’re doing it right now! Yes, you – Puppet Reader! You feeling prideful because you don’t watch Jerry Springer or care about Britney Spears. Cut it out! Set the bar higher.
Watch out for and avoid Supermarket Pride. It will only bring you down.