pride- in the name of love?

It can feel a little awkward- your kid is better at doing something than someone else’s and you feel bad about it.  When Reuben turned 1 people would say things like “I’ll bet he’ll be walking any day!” But he didn’t until he was 16 months old.  Other moms & dads would then say things like “my friend Hermione’s baby didn’t walk until he was 21 months old!” like that was supposed to make me feel better?  In contrast I can remember hanging out with another mom when he was three months old who got really upset because her daughter of the same age wasn’t babbling as much as Reuben.

This got me thinking about the question: When is it o.k. to express pride in your kid? Obviously you want to make sure to tell them that you’re proud of them when they do something that is praiseworthy. Though Reuben is only two I was so proud of him at dinner the other night when he wanted to pray for our Nigerian friend Usche who had only stayed with us for one night.  I’m thankful and proud that he knows prayer is a normal part of our lives. I’m proud that he can speak clearly, is a good eater and picked up potty training pretty quickly.  But I also had to wonder- how much of that is just him being who God created him to be? An ambitious little guy who has always been surrounded by people talking to him and has figured out that when he talks to them, they listen, laugh & think its ridiculously cute.

my talkative little man
my talkative little man

When Reuben was still a baby we wouldn’t even tell other parents about his sleeping patterns for fear they’d knife our eyes out- he slept through the night, like 6 hours at a time when he was 3 months old.  Again, we tried our best to get him to have good sleeping patterns, eating patterns, etc. But we also know other parents who have done the same things whose kids still won’t sleep through the night at 2, who will only eat mac & cheese & can’t enunciate very well.  These people are good parents! So I have to wonder how much of it is the kid just being who they are, and how much of it is the parent?  Even if you don’t have kids, do you ever feel weird expressing pride over something you’ve done? Or do you dismiss it as “just something I do.”  One of my friends Todd who started a clothing company Toddland is someone I admire that has a healthy dose of pride- “I make rad things” is his motto but he isn’t obnoxious about it.  As Rob Bell once said about the gospel; “if you don’t even smoke the stuff you’re selling, what makes you think anyone else will?” true dat.


  • Lisa

    We’ve felt this before. Just a few weeks ago we were swimming in the pool of Jeff’s cousins house. She has a son 4 months older than Emma who wouldn’t even get in the water. Jeff had to coax him in and trick him into swimming alone in the innertube. Meanwhile, Emma was swimming by herself in her own tube in the deep end. We laughed about it later and said it was embarrassing.

    I think it’s okay to have pride in your children as long as you don’t look down on other kids. I think some of it is good parenting (like teaching manners and discipline) and some of it is just that kids learn things differently, have different personalities and gifts, and good days and bad.

    I think I struggle more with how embarrassed I get when Emma is bad than how prideful I feel when she is good. Experiencing the grace to fail in parenthood has been hard for me.

  • Grace

    I agree with Lisa about how crazy it is to one day feel obnoxious pride at… (i.e. how easy going & obedient Ransom is) & then the next day completely uneasy about his speech delays. But overall, I think it’s great that you revel in Rueben’s awesomeness! 🙂 He is a great kid. There’s probably some mom’s who are having a more difficult time who need the reminder to be proud of their kids… or maybe we’ll need it when our boys are 16! hahaha 🙂

  • Kate

    I get this one. There are definitely times when I feel “bad” for being so proud of Charley…she can sit in a highchair in a restaurant and entertain herself for 2+ hours at not quite 14 months old. It’s especially awkward/hard around Moms whose kids are being not so easy as your own. Like when we spent a week with my fam and my sister’s son who’s 2 months older than Charley is just super active and mischievous. Always into everything, screams a lot (for attention, to hear his own voice, who knows), etc…and then there’s Charley, sitting on the floor playing with like 2 toys for an hour! (Mind you she only does that when there’s a full house, if it’s just her and mama she’s all over the place.) My sis would make a lot of comments on how “perfect” Charley was…but it didn’t really feel like a compliment, kwim?
    Anyway, Reuben DOES sound awesome, no reason not be happy about that…maybe it would help to focus on how awesome we think the little person God made and is forming each day is.

  • Twyila

    I think that we do need to remember that God gave us each one of our children. He created them but once they are here on earth it is our job to love, cherish, and encourage them. If they are good at something we should praise them, need help with something encourage them. I would like to think that each child’s destiny is ultimately determined by God but that I also have something to do with my child’s success (at least a little bit).

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