The difficulty and resistance I’m feeling to writing this post is directly proportionate to how much I yelled at my younger kids tonight and sent them to bed in anger because I was frustrated with them.
Because they didn’t behave in a way that I expected them to.
Because I didn’t want to spend the energy in helping them re-direct their behaviour and make better choices.
Because I didn’t want to stand down from what I thought was best.
I didn’t want to back down in my pride.
I’m not talking about pride or being proud because I’m really happy about or please with something I’ve done, or someone else has done, I’m talking about being proud as in ‘having or showing the attitude of people who think that they are better or more important than others : having or showing too much pride’ (Merriam-Webster).
Strong’s translations of pride is ‘to be puffed up, to bear one’s self loftily, to be proud’.
To act like this is not love.
It is self-indulgent because I want to give in to how I feel – justified, righteous, more important. And I am none of those things when I yell at my kids and get cross and hard-hearted.
My kid are the biggest challenge to my pride – Every. Single. Day. Not because they’re particularly obnoxious or disobedient or challenging (of course, they can be all three and at once at times!), but because by virtue of them being children, and their typical child-like behaviour, their actions rub up against the ideals I have formed as to how people should behave.
My ideals are appropriate for myself, and possibly for other adults around me, but kids? They’re still learning about this deal called life, what’s appropriate and what’s not, what works for them and what doesn’t. It is their job to question and challenge and oppose and well, act like kids. It just happens to be that often this doesn’t fit with how I think they should behave, and what I’m willing to deal with.
See, it’s all about me.
The opposite of being proud is being humble. Humility. And let me tell you, there is not greater lesson in life on humility that raising children.
Humility – ‘the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people : the quality or state of being humble’ (M-W)
I am not better than my children. I may be older, more experienced in life and have authority over them, but I am not better than them. I have learnt that when I lose my temper, this is not loving them, it is indulging myself, and I always, always feel horrible afterwards.
This is when I apologise to my kids. As much as it pains me to do so some times – because the reason for my anger may have been justified – the delivery of responding to the situation in a temper is never helpful or loving, and if I behaved like that towards an adult, I would apologise. So when it comes to the kids, I do the same. I apologise for my choice of actions, for not speaking in love, and as them for their forgiveness, then go on to discuss what’s happened and see if we can work out how we all got to that point (and avoid it next time!).
The fall always comes. Without fail. My kids are my ‘Achilles heel’ when it comes to pride, but they’re not the only thing I struggle with. I am learning more and more as I travel this journey with Christ that humility is always the balm for the sting of the fall that comes when I’m prideful. Which is every single day, in some form or another.
So tell me, what’s your ‘Achilles heel’ when it comes to pride? Kids? Your spouse? Independence from God? And how are you learning to deal with it?