“I am proud of you!”

As Edith steps down the stairs in a beautiful wedding dress, Lord Gratham’s loving eyes and outstretched arms greet his lovely daughter.

“I probably shouldn’t feel so proud of you.”

A joyful Edith responds, “You can be as proud of me as much as you like for a long as you want.”

Life experience proves to me that being told by someone who loves and or respects you, “I am proud of you,” are five words that inspire and encourage.

I believe these words are the best five words in the universe.

How can I be so sure that telling people you are proud of them is profoundly life elevating for those who hear these words?

Let me explain by using two illustrations;

Straight/crooked lines; love/hate behavior.

Crooked/straight lines: To know a line is straight it is necessary to understand what makes a line crooked.  

Love/hate behavior: the two sides of a coin are love and hate. The depth of love is equal to the depth of hate. Jesus admonishes us to love that which is good but hate that which is evil.

Being proud and being ashamed are as far apart as crooked from straight and love from hate.

When people receive these magic words, “I am of proud you!” the impact can be profoundly productive.

Whereas when humans receive the destructive force of shame or contempt, behavior diminishes. Too often a life is destroyed by shame.

Personal story: An aunt said, “The Crowell boys aren’t worth one red cent.” The statement was made over 55 years ago. I remember vividly.

Thankfully, my genetic gift was the relentless pursuit to succeed, to escape poverty.  I was born with fire in my belly! When told can’t, it made me fighting like mad.

Yet in spite of this fire in my belly, I still needed people to say to me, “Fred I am proud of you.”

Without these heroes who stepped into my life, I would not be the one writing these words today.

3 people said in words and deeds, “I  am proud of you.” They shaped my life dramatically. I am who I am today because of them.

First is Susie. We met at an age of 19 in college. For the first time in my life, I was verbally told, “I love you; I am proud of you.”  No one apart from our Lord has elevated the way I see life, people, myself more than my bride of 53 years.

Second is Jennifer. In her grade 6, I had refused to ask Susie to forgive me. It was her turn to go first. I went outside to cool off. Shooting hoops was my therapy. When I came back into the house Jennifer had placed every picture in the house face down on the table.  

Jennifer said, “Until you ask forgiveness you are not part of the family.” For 47 years I have heard Jennifer (no exaggeration) say, “Papa, I am proud of you.”

Third is Jay. We liked kites. Jay was 4. We were at a park trying to get his kite up on a calm day. I ran time after time. I was near exhaustion, “One more time, Dad.”

To get the kite up I had to run a fast 30 yards to hand off the kite string. Jay knew I was pooped and needed some fire.

At the perfect moment, Jay shouted, “go for it dad!”

Fact: my three heroes are my family members.

I can say because Jay says so often, “I am proud of you, dad,” “go for it dad!” The fire in my belly burns hot.

And last but not least I share these very personal words. Finally in the winter of life I have realized at a very deep level when God, my Abba Father says, “Fred, I am proud of you,” I believe it.

I wonder how often I can tell someone with total authenticity, “I am proud of you.”  I welcome you to join me in this pursuit today, tomorrow and forever.

Suggested reading:  Psalm 8, 19, 139


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