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Equally Proud

Apologies ahead of time Alison if my words have mischaracterized anything you meant :) The pondering your response set in motion was invaluable to me, thank you.

In a recent discussion Alison’s response to a statement of mine got me thinking. It really got me thinking.

Is it possible to be equally proud of the child who creates a life that looks like we hope it will and the child who takes a path that looks foreign to what we believe to be right?

In my role as a mother I think I can. Of course there are choices I might want them to make over others. I would consider those things a personal agenda rather than encouraging them to reach their individual potential. I might want them to be something, but God might want them to be something else. Additionally, the something God wants them to be might take a different path to reach than I can perceive or even comprehend. 

I think the act of being equally proud can have a tremendous affect for good in our children’s lives. It might even be the missing link for so many that search diligently for acceptance in unhealthy places when their life does not reflect cultural and even doctrinal norms.

 

 

{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Angie Gardner April 16, 2013, 2:45 pm

    We might define terms a little differently. I think that there is nothing any of my kids could do that would make me love them any less. It’s unconditional. But as for unconditional pride, I’m not sure. I think you can certainly praise any good choice and respect choices even that you don’t agree with, but I don’t know if I’d say I could take equal pride in it.

    Give me some examples. :)

    I can think of one: Education. I have an acquaintance who has a PhD and her husband has a Master’s degree. When their 17-year-old son told them he was quitting high school to join a band their hearts certainly had to stop for a minute – 12+ years of post-high-school education between them and they are going to be proud of their high school drop out? I don’t think they were proud of that decision, but they certainly love their son and are proud of him for other things. He’s an awesome guitarist for example, and they are proud of that, but in his educational life they have got to be disappointed.

    I don’t know what ever happened or if he graduated or not, but I’ve never heard of him becoming a rock star! :) I sure hope he re-thought that decision and went back to school.

  • Amy Lockhart April 16, 2013, 4:09 pm

    Thanks Angie! I have no time today or tomorrow, possibly Thursday. I am not ignoring you!
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 16, 2013, 6:01 pm

    For those interested, the conversation in question was in the comments of Raising Mothers.

    Is it possible to be equally proud of the child who creates a life that looks like we hope it will and the child who takes a path that looks foreign to what we believe to be right?

    It all depends on how important the choices are within your value set. If you really could be equally proud of a child who chooses what you “believe to be right” and one who doesn’t, then you either don’t think “right” matters much and/or your belief in what is right is very weak (in other words, you aren’t really sure it’s right or not, so whether they follow it isn’t a big sticking point).

    When analyzing the veracity of a statement, all you need to do is go to an extreme to see if it’s really universally true. So, here you go:

    Would you be “equally proud” of a son who went on a mission, married in the temple, and became a general authority and one who was incarcerated for murder?

    If so, then you either don’t think doing right matters or you aren’t really sure if gospel service vs. murder presents a strong right/wrong contrast.

    If not, then you will not be “equally proud” of a child who chooses right vs. not chooses right.

    So let’s go to non-extremes. Would you be equally proud of a child who chooses to become a bum and one who become a surgeon? Probably depends on how much you value education, self-reliance, civic duty, personal responsibility, etc. Would you be equally proud of a child who marries and has children they care for and another who has children out of wedlock and abandons them? Probably depends on how much you value chastity, children, responsibility, etc.

    Having a value set that presents “disparity of proudness” — for want of a better term — is simply part of having a value set. It can’t be erased just because we want to be “fair” to our kids or something. “Oh, I’m proud of you all just exactly the same!”

    Having a value set also doesn’t require us to value minutia. Just because I want my kids to be responsible adults (and I do), doesn’t mean I have to believe that can ONLY be accomplished by having a PhD in engineering from a private university, marrying someone tall and slender in the Salt Lake Temple, and having 7–9 children with dark blonde hair. :)

  • pardonthedust April 17, 2013, 2:10 am

    It’s only possible to be equally proud if your kids are doing things you equally value. Otherwise, you’re just making it up.

  • Angie Gardner April 17, 2013, 10:01 am

    Thanks Alison and pardonthedust. I agree. You said it very well.

  • Amy Lockhart April 17, 2013, 1:43 pm

    I just have a quick minute. I can’t address everything but wanted to attempt to clarify my viewpoint. Also, I don’t have the time right now to look it up and link it but there was a talk/Ensign article much in the same vein of what I was trying to say.

    I find pride in accomplishment/achievement is very easily entangled with love. Hence it becomes difficult to actually offer unconditional love. The “favored” child usually feels so because pride in the accomplishments of a sibling can’t help but ooze from the pores of the parent. Especially when said accomplishments are congruous with the value set of said parent.

    As I anxiously engage in separating pride in my children/loved ones, from pride in their achievements or accomplishments, I find it much easier to offer unconditional love.

    Even within my own family there are extremes not unlike the ones you stated Alison. I have found there is always something in everyone to be proud of, and I haven’t found it difficult to be equally proud of those redeeming qualities. I see this much the same way our Heavenly Father and Christ deal with us.

    I can be equally proud of the person my child is, and is becoming, while quite probably favoring the accomplishments, life choices, of another. Again, the separation is key for me in being able to sincerely offer unconditional love.
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  • Amy Lockhart April 17, 2013, 1:46 pm

    And of course this effort of mine is a work in progress! :)
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  • mango leaf April 17, 2013, 7:30 pm

    Amy, I think you’re doing a semantic two-step again. If you are just as proud of your serial murderer child as your general authority child-because the murderer has a great smile, then that’s just bizarre. It doesn’t make you a good parent, it makes you a lunatic trying so hard to be pc that you flew off the sanity cliff.

  • Amy Lockhart April 18, 2013, 1:36 pm

    mango leaf: If by two-step you mean attempting to share my view point, which is most often nuanced by life experience, and would never win a debate, then it is my pleasure to dance for you.

    If your intent was to criticize the way I view life and communicate about it then you quite probably won’t find anything meaningful in my posts.

    I am not sure where you got that I called myself a good parent. I have found separating pride in the person, from pride in the act, beneficial in my role as a parent.
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  • Amy Lockhart April 18, 2013, 3:42 pm

    Alison: As always, you say what you do so well. I appreciate your general perspective and the chance it gave me to think even more about my view point.

    Angie: You asked for examples.

    When I wrote the post my thoughts were along the lines of:
    * the child that declares their homosexuality and intent to fully embrace that lifestyle
    * the daughter that chooses career rather than motherhood and family life
    * the son that is excommunicated due to pornography and adultery
    * the child that clearly has a musical gift and does nothing to pursue it
    * the brilliant child who chooses not to pursue post-secondary education and works a minimum wage job struggling to make it each month

    Is that all they are, or are they first children of God, and deserving of parental pride free of comparison to my own morals, values, and judgments? Without divine understanding of their soul and life’s mission, can I really justify holding back pride in my child because their achievements and accomplishments don’t match what I had hoped for them or value to be worthwhile?

    I don’t see making it big as a rockstar the only way a parent could take pride in a child that chose to forgo education to pursue music, even given extensive education backgrounds. Most certainly, witnessing the near death of my child, several times, and dealing with close relations that struggle mightily with sin and transgression affects how I see things. I consider my first and foremost responsibility as a parent to love my children, unconditionally. Co-mingling of pride in accomplishment and love are a common thing in our society. Expectations tend to greatly hinder my ability to unconditionally love another.

    I have witnessed dramatic change in people that have someone that believes in them and shows pride in them simply because they exist. There seems to be something powerful in focusing on the good and letting the rest be what it is. Ultimately leaving it up to the person and the Lord to deal with.

    In my life experience, which is impossible to even hint at without harming others or saying things that aren’t mine to say, there are variables within each extreme. You have the YM pres. that attends the temple weekly is a successful business owner, an upstanding member of the community, has a picture perfect wife and family, and is also hiding an addiction to, and participation in, drugs and pornography.

    Then you have the person who committed murder, but is that all he is, a murderer? He is first a child of God who is kind, compassionate, and wants to help others. He starts a bible study group in prison that brings others to Christ. How did he murder someone then? Maybe it was self defense. Maybe he did not have a loving home and family and turned to a gang for love and acceptance. Maybe his desire to belong took over for long enough to commit an unthinkable act and he will live the rest of his life attempting to make restitution. I am acquainted with many an exception to the rule.

    In the context of my post, and my earnest desire to love unconditionally while simultaneously teaching and training my children, I find things have less to do with right and wrong and more to do with my ability to accept that God can work miracles with anyone in most inconceivable ways. Not that I don’t teach right and wrong, at least our family’s version of it, but I do try to do it with the caveat that we are all individuals and our ability to be kind and love others does not need to hinge upon people doing what we think they should based upon what we think is right.

    This post was never meant to win a debate or be able to be proven for its veracity. It was meant to offer a suggestion, something that has helped me and been working miracles in my relationships. It is most definitely not going to be universally true for sure.
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  • Angie Gardner April 18, 2013, 5:01 pm

    I agree with much of what you are saying, I think I just define the terms a little differently.

    I can’t see any of my children doing anything or telling me anything that would cause me to love them any less. My love for them is not determined by their grades, their choices, their sexuality, their religion, their habits, their level of education, etc. The moment they were placed in my arms – and probably even before that – I loved them warts and all, and that will never change.

    I take pride in many things that they do, but that doesn’t mean I am proud of everything they do. I don’t think my not being proud of their F’s in school (not that that’s ever happened, just using an extreme example) negates my pride for them in other areas of life, and in our family we try to focus on the positive.

    My husband and I both love music and have found great comfort in it. None of our kids so far have really taken off with it to this point, and that might make us a little sad – but only because we enjoy it so much and wish they could find the love for it as well because it brings us happiness. So are we proud of their musical accomplishments? No, because they don’t really have any yet. ;) But are we proud that they worked really hard and learned how to tear it up on the soccer field? Sure.

    Likewise, education is important to us and I want my kids to get their college degrees. Not that I wouldn’t love my high school dropout child any less than my PhD child, but because I think life is not only easier if you can afford to live as a functioning member of society, but because the pursuit of something difficult is rewarding in and of itself. Thus, I could see myself being really proud of my daughter who gets a PhD and also really proud of my daughter who gets married at 18 and starts a family, because I value both of those things (education and motherhood.)

    As to your examples, the first 2 that you mentioned I don’t see as a matter of being proud or not. To me, that’s just who someone is. To me that would be like saying, “I’m proud my kid has brown hair instead of blonde hair.” I’m just proud my kid has hair, period. :) So while I might grieve the fact that my child may never have an opportunity to parent (let alone go through a lot of really hard stuff) because they are gay, or the fact that my child may have to flip burgers her whole life because she didn’t get trained or educated for a career, I’m still proud of them and I still love them. Doesn’t mean I’ll go around shouting, “I am so PROUD of you for dropping out of school! Great job!” Instead, I’ll probably be shouting about something else they do really well and be proud of that.

    Hope that makes sense.

  • Amy Lockhart April 19, 2013, 9:23 am

    Perfect sense, thanks.

    I think the main thing I was trying to get across is that if I have one child who is gay and one who is not I don’t want to be touting the accomplishments of the straight child in an unequal fashion to the child who is gay. If I have a belief that tells me being gay is wrong then I will most likely treat my gay child with at least some level of contempt. Unless I have chosen to focus on the being rather than what that being does in his or her bedroom. Obviously you can plug any number of things in there other than homosexuality; good student vs. drop out, mother vs. career woman, active member vs. atheist, janitor vs. business owner, and so forth.

    It can be very easy, and I see it a lot in parenthood, to talk up the child that is doing what we would like them to do and give a token glance at the child who does not meet with our approval as far as life choices. We may say we love them unconditionally, but often times our actions and words deceive us. Mine do. This choice of mine to consciously separate the person from the accomplishments/achievements they have made helps me to do as you say, focus on the positive and not play favorites.

    I can praise/be proud of the diligence and honesty of my high school drop out wanna be rock star equally as much as I praise the diligence and honesty of my PhD holding child. The traits are used to accomplish different things. I most definitely will have a preference for the things being accomplished, but recognizing the value in the person, rather than what exactly was accomplished, has helped me to not favor one child over another.

    At the end of the day they are my children and just as Christ believes in me and loves me in spite of all my weaknesses and the things I haven’t done, I always want to believe in them and not have favoritism of any kind leak into my pride/praise of them as children of God. I don’t think I get any more recognition from the Lord than anyone else and that is how I am trying to raise my children.

    The way I see it, heaven will be full of bums and doctors, mothers and non-mothers, and yes, quite possibly even those that have taken life itself away from themselves or another, but, we won’t be defined by those terms after this life. Certainly the things we do in this life have an affect on who we become and where we go, but it’s not for me to say that the high school drop out didn’t accomplish exactly what he needed to in order to succeed in his life’s mission. It is for me to figure out how to love one another as He has love me.
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  • Amy Lockhart April 19, 2013, 10:09 am

    I referenced a talk in an earlier comment. The link is below. The following from the Ensign article; Raising Resilient Children, by Lyle J. Burrup, LDS Family Services, has also influenced my thinking on the matter.

    “One thing that hinders the development of resilience is a misunderstanding of the commandment to be perfect (see Matthew 5:48). … They want to be perfect in everything because they love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and do not want to disappoint Them. … they do not understand that the Lord works through weak, simple servants (see D&C 1:19–23) … we become fully developed or complete through the Atonement of Christ as we strive to follow Him (see Matthew 5:48, footnote b).

    This misunderstanding may also stem from what society teaches our youth: that their worth depends on talent and performance. In schools and communities, sometimes even at church or at home, youth see their peers get acceptance, admiration, approval, and praise for being talented at something. So they try to measure up. As they do so, they start to fear failure and mistakes. They choose what to do based on how successful they think they will be. They procrastinate when they do not feel confident. They worry about what others will think if they make mistakes. They fear loss of approval. **They view their performance as the measure of their worth.** Their perfectionism becomes a mean taskmaster, and it wears down their resilience.”

    Perfection comes through Christ. Following Him can look very different from what we think it should.

    The link to the General Conference talk follows these excerpts that greatly influenced me. Hmm. It’s not looking like the link will work. I suppose copying and pasting will do. Sorry :(

    “… you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. … Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?

    We have all heard the advice to condemn the sin and not the sinner. … “Never let failure progress from an action to an identity,” 2 .. Our children are God’s children. That is their true identity and potential. His very plan is to help His children overcome mistakes and misdeeds and to progress to become as He is. Disappointing behavior, (I add life choices) … should be considered as something temporary …, not an identity.

    Identity confusion can also occur when we ask children what they want to be when they grow up, as if what a person does for a living is who he or she is. ***Neither professions nor possessions should define identity or self-worth. The Savior, for example, was a humble carpenter, but that hardly defined His life.***

    In helping children discover who they are and helping strengthen their self-worth, we can appropriately compliment their achievement or behavior—the do. ***But it would be even wiser to focus our primary praise on their character and beliefs—who they are.***

    When children receive a report card from school, we can praise them for their good grades, ***but it may be of greater lasting benefit to praise them for their diligence: “You turned in every assignment. You are one who knows how to tackle and finish difficult things. I am proud of you.”***

    At the dinner table, occasionally talk about attributes, … “In what way were you a good friend today? In what way did you show compassion? How did faith help you face today’s challenges? In what way were you dependable? honest? generous? humble?” There are scores of attributes in the scriptures that need to be taught and learned.

    May your efforts to develop Christlike attributes be successful so that His image may be engraven in your countenance and His attributes manifest in your behavior. Then, when your children or others feel of your love and see your behavior, it will remind them of the Savior and draw them to Him is my prayer and testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/what-manner-of-men-and-women-ought-ye-to-be?lang=eng
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  • Amy Lockhart April 19, 2013, 10:11 am

    Well wadduyuknow, the link worked.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 20, 2013, 5:17 pm

    Is that all they are, or are they first children of God, and deserving of parental pride free of comparison to my own morals, values, and judgments?

    How is anyone “deserving or parental pride”? How is pride relevant outside of behavior and values? In other words, how can you be proud, without making the comparison?

    It’s hard for me to see the perspective here, so I’ll just pull Oxford. :)

    a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired

    If I’m proud of my kids, it’s ALWAYS a values judgment. 100% of the time. So if I have deep pleasure or satisfaction ABOUT THEIR BEHAVIOR, it can only happen if I think the behavior is GOOD/POSITIVE or I don’t really CARE about good/positive in that instance.

    I think you’re conflating worth/love with pride and the aren’t the same thing. In fact, we aren’t commanded to be proud at all — quite the opposite.

    I have witnessed dramatic change in people that have someone that believes in them and shows pride in them simply because they exist. There seems to be something powerful in focusing on the good and letting the rest be what it is. Ultimately leaving it up to the person and the Lord to deal with.

    Be definition, I don’t see what existing has to do with pride. But, again, I think you’re conflating two very different things.

    People don’t make dramatic changes BECAUSE people are already proud of them for bad stuff. Focusing on the good already shows that you are NOT proud of everything and that you HAVE made a behavioral values judgment between the good that you are focusing on and the bad that you are not focusing on.

    Sure, people tend to respond better when others “believe in them” than when others have given up. But what does that MEAN? Believing in someone doesn’t mean we are proud of bad things they do. It means we actually believe that can CHANGE and be BETTER. Again, a valued judgment.

    Then you have the person who committed murder, but is that all he is, a murderer? He is first a child of God who is kind, compassionate, and wants to help others.

    In my experience, murderers aren’t kind, compassionate, and knocking themselves out to help people. (Your mileage may vary.) Unless they CHANGE.

    How did he murder someone then? Maybe it was self defense.

    ??? First, if it’s self-defense, then it’s not murder. Second, I don’t think this is a discussion about the justice system. In the context of the discussion, it’s about some requirement you think we have to be “equally proud” of our children IN SPITE OF what they actually DO.

    Sorry, but I think it’s self-evident that if you have a child who commits murder, you might still love your child, but if you’re proud of them, I think it’s sickening.

    Maybe he did not have a loving home and family and turned to a gang for love and acceptance.

    Amy, this isn’t a discussion about the breakdown of the family. Sure, bad stuff happens to people. Sure, people have reasons for the stuff they do. That has nothing to do with whether or not we have some moral obligation to be PROUD of someone who commits heinous acts.

    As has already been said, sure, be proud for someone who messes up and reforms. But if they don’t reform and continue to perpetrate evil, pride makes no sense.
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  • Amy Lockhart April 20, 2013, 8:19 pm

    Alison: I didn’t say anyone should praise or be proud of bad things or heinous acts. I don’t believe that. I do believe I can be proud of the good qualities in spite of the acts.

    I never said anyone had a moral obligation to equally proud of their children. I said that I think I can and that I think it can be beneficial. I have also shared my thoughts on how I am able to do that.

    I am not conflating worth/love and pride. I have said how they are often entangled and that can make it difficult to *show* love unconditionally.

    Separating pride in acts and pride in who the person is, has been beneficial for me. I do think great things can come from taking equal pride in the good qualities of my children. Just because one child accomplishes something that fits with what I think does not mean the child that doesn’t should get less praise and parental pride from me simply because what they chose to accomplish with their traits wasn’t what I thought they should.

    I am not talking about being a proud person. I am talking about taking/showing pride in the character traits of my children, and doing it in an equal way so as to not favor one over another.

    I was not making it about the justice system or the break down of the family. Merely offering examples, of how extremes always have variables.

    Oxford and I agree. I choose to focus on the qualities rather than possessions or accomplishments. I find that is a better use of my parental pride. Making an effort to show equal pride in the qualities helps me to better show unconditional love.

    The link might provide more clarity than I.
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    • Alison Moore Smith April 21, 2013, 8:06 am

      I dont’ think there is such a thing as “pride in a person” by definition. Honestly, I’ve never, ever heard a parent, for example, of a newborn exclaim, “I’m so proud of my 2 hour old baby!” with the singular exception of a child born with severe disabilities who was fighting for life — and it was the ACT of fighting in adversity that was the cause of the pride.

      If I had a child with pulmonary fibrosis, I might be proud of his/her breathing — because it is as ACT so difficult. If I had a clinically depressed child, I might be proud of his/her choosing to remain alive and deal with life — because it is an incredible ACHIEVEMENT under the circumstances. But for a healthy child, breathing an existing would offer no source of “pride” or, be definition, “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from the achievements…” of my kids, since breathing and existing are reflexive and not about choice or achievement at all.

      So, yes, of course extreme examples have variables, but they still have common elements. Like that fact that only someone who values murder would be proud of murder. Even with the variation.

      I’m also not proud that I have skin or blood. Or that I can turn on the shower. Or that I know how to use words.

      I am not talking about being a proud person. I am talking about taking/showing pride in the character traits of my children, and doing it in an equal way so as to not favor one over another.

      I can’t think of any other way to define “a proud person” than “a person who exhibits or feel pride.” And, again by definition, unless your children actual ACHIEVE equally, I think the idea of equal pride is pretense.

      By achieve equally, I don’t mean by some worldly definition of how much money thy make or how famous they are. Because I do not VALUE salary and fame above other things, it’s imminently possible for me to be as proud of a child who makes nothing as one who makes millions. But there is still some criteria that provides actual pride — “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired” — and the one can only truly be equally proud if the criteria is equally met.

      So to DECIDE that you’re going to be just as proud of one child as another — as a matter of principle and before any actual behavior exists — makes no sense to me.
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  • Amy Lockhart April 21, 2013, 9:59 am

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/what-manner-of-men-and-women-ought-ye-to-be?lang=eng

    The link resonates with me, especially the following excerpts, and I do find value in separating the act from the quality.

    *** “But it would be even wiser to focus our primary praise on their character and beliefs—who they are.” ***

    *** “When children receive a report card from school, we can praise them for their good grades, ***but it may be of greater lasting benefit to praise them for their diligence: “You turned in every assignment. You are one who knows how to tackle and finish difficult things. I am proud of you.” ” ***

    Even Oxford gives me that option with the word ‘or’, “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, *or* from *qualities* or possessions that are widely admired” I would take Oxford one step further and replace ‘widely admired’ with qualities the Lord admires/desires in us.

    I do not have to value murder to be proud of someone who committed the act of murder. There is more to a person than the acts they commit. I can find something to be equally proud of in each of my children no matter the acts they choose. I am not making it up as pardon the dust suggests, nor am I attempting any type of pretense. I am actively seeking to separate pride/praise of acts, and qualities/traits. I find it beneficial.

    Christ did not value the woman enduring a stoning. He valued her as a person in spite of the adultery. He knew there was something more to her than the act she committed. That was his focus. Christ is much more awesome than I.

    I find it beneficial to focus my natural instincts toward pride, in godly qualities so that I can be a parent able to show unconditional love, support, and pride in my children.

    I am also not talking about throwing a party for a newborn simply because they shot out of the birth canal. I am talking about focusing my parental pride on qualities rather than achievements, titles, and measures of success as defined by the world. All things that will be of no consequence or value in the life hereafter.

    Parenting is complex, so is showing unconditional love. You are oversimplifying my words, sometimes out of context, it seems, in order to prove your point. I understand your points and I am not interested in trying to win a debate on whether or not a particular way of showing parental pride is right or wrong.

    There is logic behind my thinking and conclusions as well as spiritual insight. It is clear that all who have commented here do not follow my logic and I have not been able to clarify despite my best efforts. Again, the link might be of more help if there is a sincere desire to understand my viewpoint.

    I believe I have been as clear as I can be so it doesn’t seem edifying to continue the dialogue. You are welcome to the last word :)
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 21, 2013, 5:31 pm

    Amy, you seem to think I did not read the article (or listen to the talk when it was given), but that is not correct. I will quote from the article (in bold to distinguish article quotes from quotes of your comments).

    *** “But it would be even wiser to focus our primary praise on their character and beliefs—who they are.” ***

    While I think this is a worthwhile idea — and I don’t disagree — Robbins doesn’t actually promote this in his own examples.

    *** “When children receive a report card from school, we can praise them for their good grades, ***but it may be of greater lasting benefit to praise them for their diligence: “You turned in every assignment. You are one who knows how to tackle and finish difficult things. I am proud of you.” ” ***

    Do you see the false distinction he makes here? Diligence isn’t just some nebulous, etherial quality. It’s a quality that is SHOWN by behavior: turning in every assignment; tackling and finishing difficult things.”

    In this example, the parent doesn’t even SAY, “I’m proud of you for your diligent character” — instead, he praises the child —and expresses pride for — behaviors. And these behaviors are behaviors that the parent VALUES.

    In other words, the parent would NOT be expressing “equal pride” if the child didn’t turn in their assignments and refused to do anything hard.

    So why does Robbins say the latter might be better than the former? I suggest it’s because completing assignments and following through with difficult tasks are BEHAVIORS that will be of greater lasting benefit than worrying only about getting a particular letter grade from a particular teacher. (Although that’s arguable, too.) It’s clearly not because getting good grades is a behavior and turning in assignments is a character trait.

    To further illustrate Robbins distinction problem, here is another quote:

    When children misbehave, let’s say when they quarrel with each other, we often misdirect our discipline on what they did, or the quarreling we observed. But the do—their behavior—is only a symptom of the unseen motive in their hearts. We might ask ourselves, “What attributes, if understood by the child, would correct this behavior in the future? Being patient and forgiving when annoyed? Loving and being a peacemaker? Taking personal responsibility for one’s actions and not blaming?”

    These are things he lists as “attributes”:

    • Patience
    • Forgiving when annoyed
    • Being loving
    • Being a peacemaker
    • Taking responsibility

    I suggest that as “attributes” these things are meaningless unless the explicitly implied behavior is also present. Are you a peacemaker if you fight with everyone? Do you take responsibility if you always blame others? Are are forgiving when annoyed if you don’t forgive when annoyed?

    Most character traits are readily and easily identifiable by behavior — and unidentifiable without the behaviors. For example, how would you praise a child for BEING diligent, if there were no behaviors that expressed diligence?

    When he talks further about discipline, he makes the same conflation. He poses the best way to teach attributes is to show attributes — and proceeds to list specific BEHAVIORS (no anger, persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love, kindness, knowledge) to do so. He calls them “Christlike be’s” but that means nothing (as he’s already said) without the “Christlike do.” Can you discipline without anger unless you control your anger? Can you discipline with kindness unless you remove mean-spiritedness and hatefulness?

    Here’s another example:

    When we ask children to do chores, we can also look for ways to compliment them on being, such as, “It makes me so happy when you do your chores with a willing heart.”

    Do you notice that he says this is a compliment on being, but is actually a compliment on what the child DID, the action, the behavior. The child did the chores with a willing heart. It’s not as if the child just immersed himself in some unspeakable, unidentifiable willingness glow. He got off his duff, put down the wii-mote — and did the chores without arguing or griping and with a happy, helpful mood.

    Even Oxford gives me that option with the word ‘or’, “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, *or* from *qualities* or possessions that are widely admired” I would take Oxford one step further and replace ‘widely admired’ with qualities the Lord admires/desires in us.

    What option are you speaking of? Let’s just take out the words you don’t like and leave the ones you seem to gravitate to:

    **pride = great pleasure derived from qualities the Lord desires in us**

    So you’re “equally proud” of Stalin and Nephi because… (I realize neither are your children, but if you can be equally proud of people in spite of behavior, there’s no reason it should be limited to your own children.)

    Do you think God is “equally proud” of Jesus Christ and Satan? There are scriptures to indicate that he is pleased with Christ. None of Satan? Is this wrong? unfair?

    I do not have to value murder to be proud of someone who committed the act of murder.

    Sure you do, UNLESS you find something ELSE in their behavior to be proud of.

    He valued her as a person in spite of the adultery. He knew there was something more to her than the act she committed.

    Of course he did and no one is arguing that the didn’t. There is a difference between valuing someone (we are all of infinite worth, right? so whose is more infinite-ness if greater than another’s?) and having PRIDE in them. I never argued that we couldn’t love or value or see worth in our children equally. I argued that we could only have equal pride if those things in which we have pride somehow manage to equalize. Which almost never happens in real life.

    For example, when Samson was in the hospital, I was incredibly blown away by how brave and strong he was in the face of so much pain and disease. I was bowled over with pride. During that month, I was proud of Monica because she kept up with her schoolwork and helped out with the family. But as for the rest of the kids, I honestly knew little of what they were doing because I was living at the hospital 24/7 for the entire month. I love and adore them, but I wasn’t proud of them just because I knew they were somewhere doing something. I could have assumed I’d be proud, given they are generally good kids and they are usually doing something praiseworthy, but given that I was out of the loop for the most part, I wasn’t nearly as proud of them as I was of Samson who was David meeting Goliath.

    And then, then next month, it was another kid who displayed incredible strength in a different area. And then next month, another.

    In fact, I tend to see the idea of equalizing pride as one of diminishing everyone. To me “pride redistribution” fits with “income redistribution” and “pride justice” is akin to “social justice.” I just don’t think that’s how God works. We have kingdoms, after all, based on what we do.

    I think he will love those in the telestial kingdom (and outer darkness!) just as much as the the others. But will have deep pleasure or satisfaction about the collective behaviors and choices of those who can’t live with him eternally? How could he?

    I find it beneficial to focus my natural instincts toward pride, in godly qualities so that I can be a parent able to show unconditional love, support, and pride in my children.

    I guess that’s where we differ. Unconditional love? Sure. Unconditional support? No way. There are myriad things I would not support my kids in and as many I wouldn’t be proud of. And, again, I’m not talking about whether someone chooses carpentry vs podiatry as a profession. I’m talking about your own statement:

    the child who takes a path that looks foreign to what we believe to be right

    I think the right/wrong mentality should be reserved for those things God has defined. But when he does, no, I’m not going to be generally proud of a child who takes the path that I believe is sinful. I might be proud of a particular thing they do, but if they are generally choosing not to follow God, I won’t generally have deep pleasure or satisfaction. (Maybe deep concern?)

    A number of my kids are performers. When Alana was in high school and she auditioned for the MDT program at BYU, they have a big orientation with the kids any parents who can attend. They talk extensively about figuring out how to live in the entertainment world and in the gospel. They talk about success stories and failures (in that regard) from their own program.

    For example, one LDS performer started out at BYU in musical theater. As he became more successful, he became less active. At the point of Alana’s audition, the former Mormon returned missionary had divorced his wife of many years (with children) and was living with another performer. He was also performing on Broadway in a production where he is featured at length fully nude.

    So, were this my kid, would I be proud of him? Maybe, if there were other things in his life to be proud of. But marriage, sexual relations, work ethic, porn — those are kind of big deals in the church.

    I might be proud of his voice, but given that he was using it in a way that I consider evil, that’s not much of an offset. “Gosh, I’m really proud of my daughter for working so hard to get in shape so she can be the highest paid hooker on the strip!”

    Maybe he’s a really great cook and I’m proud of his mint brownies. But would that make me equally proud compared with a child who is generally trying to keep the commandments and be Godly? No way.

    I am talking about focusing my parental pride on qualities rather than achievements, titles, and measures of success as defined by the world. All things that will be of no consequence or value in the life hereafter.

    But, again, no one is suggesting that. Qualities are meaningless in a vacuum, as the talk says. Behaviors and actions aren’t only in the realm of worldly measures, they are also in the realm of the spiritual.

    The link resonates with me, especially the following excerpts, and I do find value in separating the act from the quality.

    I’m unsure what you mean by “the quality,” but the idea that our behavior — except in cases of severe psychological dysfunction — is distinct from who we are is psychobabble to me.

    I grew up in the era of, “Don’t tell him he’s a bad boy, tell him he’s a boy who did bad things.” Whatever! Guess what, a boy who does bad things IS a “bad boy” insofar as his behavior is bad. When he changes to substantially good behavior, he’ll be a “good boy.” That’s what the words mean.

    Of course, we don’t sit around giving our kids negative labels and we don’t ignore the good because of the bad. But this discussion is about some kind of random equalization of pride IN SPITE OF what people actually DO. And, like Robbins, I can’t make the distinction.

    “To be and to do are inseparable…To be and to do are inseparable…The Savior often denounced those who did without being—calling them hypocrites…Conversely, to be without to do is void, as in “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”

    Exactly. That is my point. We are what we do. We love our kids no matter waht they do. But having extreme pleasure or satisfaction when they are not doing what is “right” isn’t in my makeup.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…The Pizza Factory Bait & Switch Promotion FailMy Profile

  • mango leaf April 21, 2013, 6:01 pm

    ___I am not sure where you got that I called myself a good parent. I have found separating pride in the person, from pride in the act, beneficial in my role as a parent.___

    Amy, you said over and over that you thought this was the right way to be a parent. So you obviously think having the same pride in all your kids is a better way to parent. But it makes no sense at all. If something is “beneficial in my role as a parent” then I guess you think it makes you a better parent. Unless you think it’s beneficial to be a bad parent.

    Like others say, I don’t know how hyou can be proud of a person PROUD without it being about pride in action. What is proud about heart pumping?

    I said you were doing a semantic dance because you keep changing definitions. There’s a word in logic for that, but I can’t remember from my philosophy class. But it’s like you decided to write an article to insist that it’s possible to have equal pride and Alliosn told you what you were wrong about in how you interpreted her point.

    But then pride becomes something completely unrelated to what pride really means and it’s mixed up with love and worth. Then you keep talking about a conference talk that actually contradicts what you said but you don’t get it.

    So I like the discussion, but sometimes you just need to say, well yea that doesn’t really make sense. I guess I meant that I love muy kids the same or they are all worth the same, pride isn’t the word I really looked for.

    Like later you said unconditional support. To me that a really horrible parent. I see it all the time. Parents who support their kids no matter what. Not my precious child! They can do no wrong and I support them! When you should NOT be supporting them you sould be telling them what they did was wrong and that they need to fix it.

    But now you’ll say support means important role like a supporting actor and so by unconditional support you just mean showing up at their execution after they are convicted of murder.

    Anyway there is a name for that when you use a word and keep changing the meaning to make it support you point. It makes it very had to have a discussion because I can’t trust that you will be reasonable.

    To be blunt, I don’t think you really understood that conference talk.

  • mango leaf April 21, 2013, 6:02 pm

    Sorry about teh typos. Im trying to type on my android and I suck at it.

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