WOW Word-Of-the-Week #316: Proud

August 18, 2010 by  

Proud – how children want their parents to feel about them.

Would you agree that you wanted your parents to be proud of you? Do you remember the first time your mother or father told you they were proud of you? Do you tell your children, grand children or staff that you are proud of them?

When Mary Marcdante, one of my speaker buddies, was writing her book, “My Mother, My Friend” back in the 90’s she asked me, “When was the first time your mother told you she was proud of you?”

Embarrassing to say, there was a long silence and then I replied, “My mother has never told me she was proud of me.” I remember feeling kind of sad because I could not answer her question. Is it assumed that all parents tell their children they are proud of them?

The good news is, my mother did tell me she was proud of me in 1999. I remember the day vividly. My biological father was diagnosed with liver cancer on Friday and was dead the following Thursday. Fortunately I was there to handle all the last minute details with banking and all. We had gone to lunch that day and that is when she said, “I am so proud of you for taking care of your father. (We had been estranged at one point for seven years, but that’s another story.) I just jumped in and did what had to be done.

On Our Panama Canal Trip

On Our Panama Canal Trip

What made me choose the word proud this week? The man who has been “my father” for the last 44 years. As you know, he broke his foot July 4th weekend, and the good news he healed very quickly. Last week we took him out for dinner and he announced, “I am no longer going to drive.” I can’t imagine giving up my car! It’s total freedom. I am so proud of him for being smart enough to know that it’s time to stop driving and not putting us in the position of “taking it away from him.”

This week I want you to think about what proud means to you. Who are you proud of? When is the last time you told them?

Reader Responses

“Family is so important in everyone’s life, it is hard for me to imagine being estranged, but understand how it happens. My mother abandoned our family when I was a teenager, but we (my brother, sister & me) hung in there with her when she finally reappeared. Today she is 90 years old, lives in an assistance care facility, but is able to take care of herself.  She is such a pain to all & just doesn’t realize what we went through growing up under those conditions….I am so proud of my siblings because of the character & strength they showed in the past and continue to show in spite of my mother’s best efforts to make life miserable.” – Dick

“You have a ‘real gift’ when writing personal stories; this one is a good illustrated example. You took your readers back to your biological father and then advanced to the man who has actually been your father for four decades. But, the art behind your sentence structure was your careful ‘gift’. You bridged the years by letting us know you were proud of his decision to give up driving. Good heart-warming story.” – pc


One Response to “WOW Word-Of-the-Week #316: Proud”

  1. Mary Marcdante on September 6th, 2010 11:16 pm

    Susan, thank you for the mention. You have this amazing and unique way of asking questions that get right to the truth of the matter in a way that people can connect to their own places of pain and then find a way to move through those places into their power.

    You asked if it is assumed that all parents tell their children they are proud of them. When I wrote My Mother, My Friend, one of the top four questions thousands of people said they wanted to ask their mother was “Are you proud of me?” I was surprised, but later learned it was only because I heard it from Mom often. I assumed that you’d have heard it because you have accomplished so much and put so much positive effort into whatever you do. The good news is that your mother was able to finally give voice to that before it was too late, which happens to so many.

    As for your father announcing he isn’t going to be driving. Wow! That is something to be proud of. Again, in my research for the chapter on aging, the number one challenge I heard from parents was turning over the car keys because it was the first sign of losing their independence. I even did a role-play section on how adult children could handle it. Tell your Dad he’s the Poster Parent for Baby Boomers out there.

    You have so much to be proud of Susan. One thing I remember is the way you jumped into the presidency of NSA San Diego after me and took the chapter to the next level. And you keep doing that in whatever you do. I’m glad to know you.