Daily Archives: January 6, 2010

Are you proud of someone? Did you tell that person lately?

                                                     Like Flowers in the Concrete

If the above video didn’t cause a few emotional tears, I think we’d better find the Wizard for you. You may be related to the Tin Man in Oz.

This video was sent to me because I am on Greg Tamblyn’s mailing list. He is one entertainer I truly enjoy. If you are unfamiliar with him, visit his website.

He uses humor to examine almost every aspect of human interaction. When I read his letter and he said the video “really got me in my big ol’ soft spot”, I knew I was in for something special.

As a teacher, the words of the song by Taylor Hicks reminded me of my own childhood and the countless children I encountered during my thirty years in education. He sings, “I’ve learned to have faith in myself, to walk what I believe. To question is to grow. To know you have faith in me is all I need to know.  Do I make you proud?”

I don’t know any child that didn’t seek someone’s approval. It was easy to pick out the ones in the class who needed more positive strokes than others. They were the ones who would cling, almost begging for some kind of recognition. They were the ones who needed frequent assurance that they were doing things right. Or, they were the ones who never sought any attention to themselves, already convinced that they were not worthy.

The words on the video really made me think. “When I let go of who I wanted her to be and just let her be, she completely flourished and I reveled in knowing she’s perfect just the way she is.”

How many parents desire to have their children created in their image? They want them to go into the family business or they push them into law or medicine or business when the child doesn’t really want to go there. This is the same child who could be absolutely fantastic in another profession if given the freedom of choice.

How many children can answer the question in a positive manner, “Are your parents proud of you? I NEVER ever heard my father or aunt say that to me. I stopped even telling them about open houses after fifth grade because I was tired of trying to get them to see the work I was doing. In high school they did attend a couple of activities but they never commented one way or the other.

I never felt my father had any faith ever in what I wanted to do. Whenever I wanted to try something, it was always the same answer, “Wait until (insert any number of names) can help you.” Of course that help never came so I stopped trying.

When a parent can accept a child completely as she or he is and realize  that child is perfect already, that child will flourish.

Children who grow up without anyone having any pride in them remind me of the weeds and flowers that grow in concrete. There is a service road next to an interstate close to my house. It always amazes me when I see flowers or even weeds blowing in the wind with their roots anchored in the concrete.

Children like that have an inner seed that refuses to die. But they are far fewer than the children with inner seeds that simply wither from lack of nourishment.

Those of you who have been following me for a while know of Maxine. Maxine is the greatest encourager I have ever had in my life. I’ll tell her what I am doing and she’ll say, “Annie, I’m so PROUD of you. I think that’s great. At first I just thought it was something carried over from her Southern upbringing. I thought every Southern woman said things like that. I kind of brushed off the complements. Then I began to take it in and examine exactly what she was proud of. They were things, mostly very minor, that I could possibly feel some pride in doing myself. Now whenever she says it, and it isn’t that often, I listen. Children are like that. If they have not had an opportunity to feel pride from someone else, when they do, it can have a strong effect on them.

This dog, Ricochet, is a very special dog. When she couldn’t overcome her desire to chase birds, she was guided to do something that she loved equally well and in so doing provided a great service to Patrick. She excelled because she was able to follow her own path. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every child were allowed to be so fortunate? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if every pet were allowed to follow their own paths? I wonder if pets can sense pride in their owners? Is that why some of them are so willing to please? How long has it been since you’ve told someone or some pet you love how proud of them you are? For some of them that may be too long. Why don’t you try it today and tell me what happened when you made that statement. I’d love to know. Namaste. Attic Annie.

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