I’m struggling with pride. Not the sin itself—though I’ve certainly fallen into that trap many times—but with the word.
Why? Because there are two kinds of pride. And neither of them is a group of big cats.
We all know the sin of pride. It’s one of the seven deadly sins, which doesn’t mean its worse than other sins, but that it’s foundational. Pride is a root human condition, like lust, greed, envy, anger, laziness, and gluttony, that leads us astray. We all experience these temptations and when we act on them we sin.
But there’s another kind of pride. The pride a parent feels for a child, or the pride a child feels when doing something good, noble, or generous. Plus there’s the behavior code of Anna’s school, a code called Cheetah Pride.
All noble ideals, summed up in the acronym PRIDE.
So what’s the problem? Well Anna is having trouble understanding the difference between the two kinds of pride. I don’t want to discourage her outgoing spirit, which has flourished at her new school over the last year-and-a-half, and I want her to take pride in her accomplishments. Above all, between her apraxia and her new braces, I don’t want her to retreat into a shell.
But I don’t want her boasting either, and sometimes she does it without realizing. The first time I caught her boasting I tried to talk to her about pridefulness.
“What’s wrong with pride?” she asked. It was a tough question to answer. I had to find a different word that conveyed the bad pride.
And I did. Hubris.
Arrogant, pompous, conceited, and self-important. That’s the bad kind of pride. So from now on I will say “pride” for the good kind of pride and “hubris” for the bad kind.
And I’ve expanded her already large vocabulary. Which is a good reason for us both to be proud.