(Stock photo) We have taught our children all their lives to take pride in what they are doing and in who they are, so I could understand any confusion. I guess the problem is with our English language. We are supposed to take pride, but not be full of pride. There is definitely a difference.
Instilling Pride, Without Arrogance
NOVEMBER 10, 2008Craig Harris, HappyNews ColumnistI walked into the living room the other morning and heard someone speaking on the news. I don’t remember who it was or what he was talking about, but I found him to be obnoxiously arrogant. “That guy is full of pride,” I said. “And pride comes before a fall.”“What’s wrong with being proud?” my son asked. “Aren’t we supposed to have pride?”Now a good question was on the table. He’s right; we are supposed to be proud of ourselves. We are supposed to be proud of our work – and take pride in our accomplishments. We are supposed to be proud of our family name and our American heritage. We’re proud of our educations. We take pride in our school work and accomplishments on the sports teams. We have taught our children all their lives to take pride in what they are doing and in who they are, so I could understand his confusion. I guess the problem is with our English language. We are supposed to take pride, but not be full of pride. There is definitely a difference.“Well,” I said, “I’m talking about the kind of pride that says, ‘I don’t need anyone else and I don’t need God. I have it all together.’ It’s good to be proud of yourself and take pride in what you do, but it’s not good to think you are better than everyone else.”He nodded in understanding. Our challenge as parents, then, is to instill pride into our children, but not arrogance. To teach them to be independent thinkers, but not to the point of believing they have all the answers. It’s not healthy for them to believe they are always right and everyone else is always wrong. That leads to a crash, like the proverb I loosely quoted.There is an American ideal that says we should be able to pull ourselves up by “our bootstraps.” We should be an independent man or woman. A hero despite it all. There have been plenty of movie characters who fit this description. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood have played this archetype a time or two. Again, it’s good to be proud of who we are, just not to the point of being puffed up and arrogant.The balance we need to teach our children, then, is to be independent thinkers, true to good character no matter what, and proud of who they are, but realizing they need others to succeed. We need to teach them they need other people to bless and help them. They will need to be a blessing and to accept the blessings of others if they are going to succeed.It may seem like a contradiction, but I am an absolute charity case, completely dependent on many other people to feed myself and my family, but I’m also very proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. Working hard makes me proud, but knowing how dependent I am on others keeps me humble.Life is about balance. We want our children to be proud – just not too proud.
Craig Harris is the pastor of a country church and the parent involvement coordinator of the Palestine Independent School District. He is also a loan officer (LO #76755) for Capital Mortgage in Whitehouse, offering loans for home purchases and refinancing. You can contact him at lcraigharris (at) gmail.com. Read more from him at his blog: lcraigharris.blogspot.com.