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When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?

It’s been a while, but then in my age group, it doesn’t get said that often. We old guys know the ropes pretty well, and know also that a sense of pride doesn’t have to come from others. We can feel it ourselves, and know when we’ve done the right things, or given an effort our best.

It’s always nice to hear, and as a retired teach who still volunteers at my last school, I try to commend children on their achievements, even if it’s as simple as pushing in their chair after class.  Words of affirmation and due praise are greater motivators than “scolding” or “punishment”.

People must learn at some point to take pride in themselves, to have their own moral compass (instilled by family, teachers, and hopefully religious values), and to follow it, or measure their actions against it. Some people never develop that; it is instead either immediate gratification or success at all costs that drive people regardless of the morality of their actions. Thus it is even more important to give praise when it’s due to others than to receive it. If I recognize that someone has done something laudable, that speaks to my values as well as those I hope to strengthen in others I want to affirm that.

Not a Hillary fan, but I subscribe to the notion that “It takes a village to raise a child”, and as adults, we need to be mindful of how we treat kids — are we developing positive values and modeling good value-oriented behavior, or are we treating them with disrespect and belittling them for their immature (appropriately) behavior. Kids need to grow up with a feeling that others care about them personally and value them unconditionally — and give them that guidance by words and actions that will help them grow into the kind of adult we’d like them to be.

take-prideNo, I don’t get a lot of praise any more; I get “thank-yous” and I know when those are truly meant. I take pride in my actions when they come from my inner moral compass, and when I stray from that I, as we all do, I try to understand and correct my errors. We can’t live waiting for praise; it may never come. It is more important that it comes from inside of us, from knowing that we did the “right” thing.