chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Proud of Your Kids? What if you weren’t?

Posted by Jason on December 2, 2008

I had a conversation with a young man in my class today. The students will be recording radio interviews on their computers about important events in their lives, similar to the StoryCorps project that gave me the idea. I asked this student, who dresses and acts like a thug, if he thought his parents were proud of him. He shrugged and said he didn’t know, so I asked if he could remember if his parents ever told him they were proud of him. He said no.

After my heart broke for this kid, I got to thinking… I’m going to have kids some day, and I foresee that I’ll be a good parent. Does anybody ever plan to be a bad parent? In our visions of the future, we see our kids doing wonderful things and succeeding because that’s what we’ve done in our own lives. Or maybe we see our children becoming productive members of society only after we drill it into them. Perhaps it’ll end up a combination of both.

But what will happen if my child doesn’t do anything of which I can be proud? What will I do? I’m not talking about disappointments that come up: Lord knows I’ve disappointed my parents plenty, but the general attitude they have toward me is pride. Is it possible for a good parent to raise a child who does not merit that parent’s pride? 

Gosh, I’m soooo not ready for children yet.


4 Responses to “Proud of Your Kids? What if you weren’t?”

  1. beckyblackpowell said

    Great question. I think many parents have a blind spot when it comes to seeing their child’s flaws or weaknesses. Still, to raise a child you don’t take pride in sure says a lot about the parent’s self-image. Like you, I cannot imagine such a situation. My only advice – parenthood will be neither as wonderful nor as awful as you imagine it will be. How’s that for cryptic?

  2. layrenewal said

    Is pride a noun or a verb?

    If you consider pride as an ongoing action verb, then yes, there will be times you are not proud of your children. This would place it in the ‘disappointed’ category. There are times I am not proud of my children’s actions (as I’m sure there were/are times my parents are not proud of my own). My parents weren’t proud of my long hair and earring 20 years ago. (Seems like a lot longer…)

    If you consider pride as a noun, then no. I’d put this meaning in the linguistic camp of love. No matter what has happened, I have never stopped loving my kids and being proud of the fact that they are mine. Granted, they have not committed any heinous crimes, but I can’t even fathom not being proud of the gift that they are…

    AND – No one is ready to be a parent. I personally believe that it is 10% preparation and 90% reaction. I think the best parenting advice to heed is to prepare yourself to react slowly.

  3. Jason said

    Lay, that’s exactly it! We can’t even fathom not being proud of our kids… I’m sure there are people that in general don’t often or don’t ever feel proud of their kids. Could it be that the demographic of people who read and write blogs have children they are generally proud of? I know that’s a staggering generalization, but I haven’t seen anybody ponying up and telling me they aren’t proud of who their children are and what they’re doing about that lack of pride…

  4. Anonymous said

    maybe certain people just don’t know (how) to communicate it to their children. and perhaps that is cultural?

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