It is expected that I’ll work to: provide, shop, cook, clean, repair, assign chores, make calls, schedule, advise, act as the negotiator, and the enforcer for my children. That’s my job; I’m the adult.
My job is also edification. I enlighten and uplift my children. I enlighten them by sharing my vast knowledge of the world as I know it. I color that knowledge with the vision engendered by my special glasses. They’re not rose colored, they’re the ones with the eyeballs on springs, and they see the humor in every situation. I uplift my children with love. It’s free, and it’s from the heart. My parents didn’t say “I love you”. It may have been a generational short coming, but I’ve crossed it off the list of recriminations that my children will bemoan to a therapist someday.
When I’m proud of my children: usually the result of a good grade, a kind gesture, or a Herculean effort of any kind, whether failed or successful, I am impelled to praise them. Perhaps I should be more liberal with my extolments. I don’t toss the phrase, “I’m proud of you” around if it’s undeserved. For me, to say “I’m proud of you”, without warrant is the equivalent of every child on every little league team getting a trophy just for showing up. Sycophancy doesn’t create drive, it creates entitlement, and if we’re all special, then no one is special.
What I do for me: the reading, the writing, the irregular workouts, the friendships, that’s who I am. Identity is an interesting idea, how others see you, vs. how you see yourself. Do I really care how I come across to people? I’m at a point in my life, where I know who I am. It’s not my concern or business whether Jack thinks I’m stupid, or Jill thinks my hair is ugly, as long as I know my strengths and weaknesses. I am a good person. I do the best I can with the cards I’ve dealt myself- yes, dealt myself. I take full responsibility, which is part of my job as an adult. I try to be a better person today than I was yesterday. Try, that’s all I can do.
When is the last time someone told me they were proud of me? I can not recall. I do remember sentiments expressed with different words that had the same effect on me: appreciate and thank you for example.