The term PRIDE is used in a number of ways in our culture. For example, it is used negatively as in "pride goeth before a fall," and it's used as something akin to vanity to describe a basic human weakness or flaw. It's also used to excuse behavior even when that behavior is definitely against our best interests, such as "I've got my pride!" However, pride is also a positive thing and for someone to be proud of their efforts, their possessions, and things that represent them is basically something that comes from a healthy self-concept. I think it also works in reverse in that when someone is taught to be proud of their efforts, the results stimulate the feeling of pride but also strengthens and enhances self-concept development.

I think that we would all agree that we have seen a gradual deterioration in several aspects of our culture where being proud of your efforts is replaced with simply "getting by." There's a great deal of talk that our auto industry is suffering from that change as a result of the imports of foreign models that are reportedly built with more "quality." I do not know that this is true, of course, but there is a lot of talk along those lines. In any case, there is currently a strong effort to rebuild our sense of national pride. I recommend the same "therapy" for all of us, individually.

In my opinion, parents should teach their children to be proud as well as honest. In fact, I think there are a lot of similarities between honesty and pride and I'm not sure that the second could even exist without the first. Trustworthiness, loyalty, truthfulness…and the rest of the "Scout Oath" terms…aren't they all based on a sense of individual pride? I think so.

It is a delightful thing to see a young child who is learning to be proud of his accomplishments. I remember Carl, my oldest son, crawling under a porch step to retrieve a litter of pups that our dog had and hid safely in a hole dug for that purpose. We praised him and said that he had rescued the puppies before it rained and drowned them. He grinned and said, "Yeah. I guess I'm a hero!" We agreed.

I can remember when Phil, my 17-year-old son, was first starting to read that he was so proud that he about drove his poor parents silly by reading everything in sight. It was real misery to ride down the street with him in the car because every written sign that was visible along the roadway was read out loud. Nevertheless, his reaction to being able to do that was delightful, so we suffered and reinforced his reading whenever we could.

Perhaps the purest expression of pride that I have seen is the poem that was written spontaneously by my youngest son, Steve, when he was in the first grade and just beginning to learn to read and write. Rather than explain it, I'm going to reproduce the poem in its entirety, misspellings and all, here:

I am a butterfly,

I fly very well.

I am a dog I bark

very well.

I am a kat Lisin to me,

purr. I am a rabbit look

at me hop. I am a fish

Look at me swim.

I am a hors. Look.

I am Steve and I can write


That, folks, is pride.