Some questions are priceless. The other day, someone asked me when am I most proud of Jon, my son with disabilities. I quietly pondered. In this world of ours, most parents could quickly provide plenty of pride-filled moments: blue ribbons, being the star athlete, social recognition, good grades, good looks, or a bit of charm. All of these qualities can make parents feel proud. There is nothing wrong with awards and accolades, yet there is something wrong when such praises define what makes a parent proud.
There was a time when some of the attributes listed above would have answered the question. But in raising Jon, I have evaluated what is most important; finding what I am most proud of is rarely measurable or defined by social standards.
Here is my answer to her question. I am most proud of Jon when I observe . . .
- His effort to form his first four-word sentence, “I love you, Mommy” . . . at age 3
- His courage to go to school each day, knowing he will be ignored or made fun of
- His resolve to play a game, even though he’s been picked last and knows he won’t win
- His patience as he works to tie his shoes each day
- His endurance of painful tics and sore muscles
- His devotion to others, despite their rejection or betrayal
- His spiritual sensitivity . . . saying “let’s pray” every time we see an accident on the road
- His authenticity in sharing his thoughts and feelings without shame
- His acceptance of others, regardless of what they can do or how they look
- His genuine care for others
I often return to Christ’s words in Matthew chapter 5:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . those who mourn . . . the meek . . . those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . . the merciful . . . the pure in heart . . . the peacemakers . . . those who are persecuted because of righteousness. . . . Blessed are you when people insult you . . . and falsely say all kinds of evil against you. . . . Great is your reward in heaven.” (Matthew 5:3–12 NIV)
What Are You Proud Of?
How would you answer the question? Are you proud of what can be measured or accomplished, feeling like a failure if you struggle with an addiction, weakness, pain, or a disability?
Let Me Hear from You
I would love to hear your thoughts as you ponder what you are really proud of.