Proud of our children or proud because of them?

People are proud. Parents are people, so it would follow that parents are proud. Parents are especially proud of their kids.

What’s tricky is that fine line between being proud of your kids and proud because of your kids. When you are proud of your kids you beam on them for their successes and merits. You lift them up because they are yours. You praise them because you love who they are. It’s an uplifting pride because it puts the child in a place of honor in your heart and mind and conversation. You are uplifting them because you think they’re great and are pleased in them.

Being proud because of your kids, though, is not aimed at your kids at all. It’s self-focused. It’s feeling an increased sense of self because your child had a success. Your child is the best soccer player, first chair violin, a scholarship winner, or on the A honor roll. Thus they are the best, and that means you, as the one who crafted them, are also the best! It’s a game of compare and contrast with other parents in which your child has become the basis for your success (or failure). It’s usury.

When God said “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased” he wasn’t saying “Check this kid out; I raised him.” When the Bible calls Jesus the glory of the Father it’s not because God needed Jesus to be perfect to complete Him. No, God was pleased in his son because he was His son. He was pleased in his person, in his being, and in his being begotten. God was not proud because of Jesus.

As parents, how much do we hang our identity and self-worth on how our children turn out? How often do we get sucked into those “Well, my child did _____” conversations? How upset do we get when they fall short of our expectations, and are we upset on their behalf or our own? Our children should be our beloved in whom we are all pleased. Our pride should shine on them not use them as fuel to shine elsewhere.

I live in the Nashville area and spend my days helping churches with leadership development. My nights are spent writing and rooting for Minnesota sports teams. I also podcast a bit. I'm the author of The Pastor's Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt is Not the Enemy of Faith, and The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life