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Pride 13 November 2011

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Life, Ponderings.

It’s one of those words I really don’t know how to deal with, that and it’s close relative, proud. It could be based around my own personal interpretation, that of pride as something excessive, self-righteous and non-virtuous. Certainly I struggle when I’m asked what it is that I’m proud about. Am I proud of my own achievements? No. Pleased certainly, but proud? The word makes me want to squirm. Am I proud of my daughters? Again, the same answer and feelings apply. And when I’m introduced, with my clerical collar in, to a school assembly where the head is seeking to, well, not fight, but uphold my place before students of a different world faith, as “proud” of my faith, “proud” to be a Christian, I am really, really uncomfortable.

It could be an irregular and peculiar interpretation of the word on my part, but it doesn’t sit well, I know that. Then there are the exhortations of this time of November to wear my poppy with pride. How? I cannot be proud of the sacrifices and endeavours of others, in the sense that they are not of my doing. I can be grateful, absolutely. I can be awed. But pride is not a fitting word, as far as my vocabulary goes.

Pride, in Christian terms, is not a virtue. Far from it, it is a vice. But to equate pride with self-respect, or respect for nation, doesn’t sit too easy.

Pride is for lions. I am a Christian… and we all know what the Romans thought about that combination!



1. Jane Williams - 13 November 2011

I agree that it’s a difficult word, it’s changed its meaning and/or associations over the years, but still retained the original in places.

You do “take a pride in your work”, I think? A slightly different meaning: you take care to do it as well as possible, for no other reason than that you feel you should.

“Proud parent” is a phrase that usually implies delight in the accomplishments of one’s children and a desire to tell the world how wonderful they are, rather than any implication that their achievements are yours rather than their own.

It’s a shame, really – we now lack a word for a justified satisfaction in ones own accomplishments, since “pride” has been taken from us, and lacking the word, we then find it hard to express that feeling. A veyr English problem, and one I encountered a lot when job-hunting and writing CVs.

2. Helen - 14 November 2011

I think ‘pride’ is definitely a word with different shades of meaning… The vice of pride strikes me as being a bit different from being proud of ones children or even ones accomplishments… I would consider that a proud person would be someone who is arrogant, vain, conceited, stubborn, self-righteous or smug. But I don’t think that someone who says, “I passed my A-levels, I’m really proud of myself” or, “I’m really proud of my children” or “Hearing about Mother Theresa’s good works makes me proud to be a Christian” or whatever is necessarily doing wrong…
I’m reminded of a time I saw badges saying ‘Proud to be Scottish’, ‘Proud to be Welsh’ and ‘Proud to be Irish’. I said, “You’ve missed us out, where’s ‘Slightly Ashamed to be English’ and ‘Proud to be English – if that’s all right with you?’ ”
I guess I think pride is a complex thing… sometimes arrogance and confidence seem similar, sometimes patriotism becomes nationalism, sometimes one person’s vanity is another’s ‘pride in my appearance’. Anyway, I don’t think it’s always a bad thing.

3. Helen - 14 November 2011

I must add that I am happy but not proud to be English đŸ™‚

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