An underrated parenting technique is to have your child make a self-deprecating joke in response to light teasing. Nothing triggers the impulse to make fun of someone quite like discovering that the person is unable to take a joke. The hope is that, when the child is grown, he will become someone capable of taking his work seriously, but not necessarily himself seriously.
What happens if self serious carries the day over self deprecation? You get Anish Kapoor, the British artist and sculptor who is best known for creating the Bean sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Kapoor doesn’t like it when you call it the Bean, instead preferring you that you use the appointed name Cloud Gate (though, after seeing the unpopularity of this position, reversed his position and said, “I call it the Bean, too”).