Parents, don’t confuse “Proud of” with “Happy for”

I was recently listening to a song by Maverick City Worship called Jireh. One line hit me, “it doesn’t take a trophy to make you proud.”

I certainly hope my sons know that it doesn’t take trophies, A’s, scholarships, or accolades to make me proud. But, my language may actually convey that those things are what makes me proud. When they get some award or recognition, I say, “Bud, I’m proud of you.”

What I mean is “Bud, I’m happy for you.” That’s different.

I’m proud because they work hard, they persevere even when it sucks and they are discouraged. They are good boys who care for others, love the Lord, want to do the right thing, try to help their friends and a whole bunch more. This makes me proud.

I’m happy for you when your hard work gets rewarded. It doesn’t always, we all know that. But when your extra work on the field or court, or your busting your butt on a job, or your cracking the books more than I would have…when those things result in good outcomes, I’m happy for you.

I was already proud, but now my heart smiles because you are rejoicing.

As parents, we should say “I’m proud of you” often – when we see honesty, integrity, virtues, fruit of the Spirit. Let’s not just say we’re proud of our kids when they get a trinket that acknowledges what we see every day.