The Two Kinds of Pride

Cheetah and two cubs

Photo: Julia Ozab

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.

  • Perseverance.
  • Respect.
  • Integrity.
  • Diversity.
  • Excellence.

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.

Cheerleaders of Faith

Counting by Hand

Cheetah Change cup

Photo: Tammie Valdes

Two weeks ago, one of the Wildlife Safari’s ambassador cheetahs visited Anna’s school and I wrote about his visit for Five Minute Friday. Over the last two week, Anna and her classmates have been collecting change to donate to the Safari’s Cheetah Breeding program, and today we counted totals for each classroom.

Hand counting that much change is a chore, but we’ve got it down to a system. My wife Julia, who’s far better at both math and money than I am taught me how to count money fast and efficiently, and using this system three adults and one eight-year-old were able to count eighteen classrooms worth of “Cheetah Change” in about an hour and a half.

Here are the steps.

  1. Take out the bills.
  2. Separate coins (quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies).
  3. Count coins from largest to smallest.
  4. For every four quarters put one in a “dollar pile” and the other three in the counted change pile.
  5. For every ten dimes, put one in the “dollar pile” and nine in the counted change pile.
  6. For every nickel, put one in the “dollar pile” and nineteen in the counted change pile (it helps to count nickels by twos).
  7. Once you get to pennies, you’ll need to make a third pile (“tens pile”)  to count every tenth penny. It’s too easy to lose your place when counting to 100.
  8. The number of  leftover (less than ten) pennies go in rightmost column (i.e. $__._7).
  9. Count the “tens pile.” For every ten pennies, put one in the “dollar pile” and nine in the counted change pile.
  10. The number of  leftover (less than ten) pennies go in the next column over (i.e. $__.37).
  11. Count the “dollar pile.” Add the number of coins to your bill count to get the dollar total and place that to the left of the decimal point. (i.e. $26.37),
  12. Collect the bill and change. Your done with that jar!

The result? Anna’s school ended up raising over $360 for the cheetahs. The two top classes got an extra recess.

And most amazing of all, our hand-counted total was within forty cents of the machine count at the bank.

The system works!

Five Minute Friday

And on the first Friday of each month …

Fatherhood for Fridays

Up Close

Khayam outside

Arriving at the school.

It’s one thing to see a wild animal in a photograph, or behind a fence at a zoo or a wild animal park. It’s quite another to see that animal up close. The children at Anna’s elementary school got that chance yesterday when one of the Wildlife Safari’s ambassador cheetahs, Khayam, paid a visit.

Khayam onstage

Onstage with his keepers and a nice big bucket of steak.

The kids were mesmerized by this beautiful cat and sat in silence as one of the keepers talked at length about him and his sister Mchumba—how they were abandoned by their mother and hand-raised by staff, how they were trained to become cheetah ambassadors—and about the beautiful, endangered animals that the Safari works so hard to preserve.


He loves being in front of an audience.

At the end of the presentation, my wife Julia took the stage to encourage the kids to raise money for the Safari’s cheetah breeding program. She asked if the kids wanted to help and they all responded with an enthusiastic “yes.” The plight of the cheetah had been made real to them in part by seeing one of these animals up close.

Laying with his head off the stage.

He liked seeing the kids up close too. Good thing he was full.

And now they will do their small part to make sure that someday their kids will get the same opportunity. That there will still be cheetahs for them to see up close.

Photos © 2014 by Julia M. Ozab.

Five Minute Friday

All About Cheetahs

Cheetah running

Photo: Mark Dumont (CC BY 2.0)

Anna’s school had a special guest today. Khayam, one of the ambassador cheetahs from the Wildlife Safari, visited together with his keepers. All the kids got to see a cheetah up close and learn about these amazing animals. Here’s some of what they learned …

1) The cheetah is the fastest runner on the planet.

2) It runs 70 miles per hour, and achieves the speed from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds. It runs two times faster than a race horse.

3) A cheetah can cover up to 20 feet in just one stride with its powerful legs.

4) Cheetahs are built for speed with their lean bodies, long legs, and narrow heads.

5) Cheetahs have non-retractable claws with hard pads on the bottom of their paws that give them a strong grip on the ground for running.

6) When cheetahs are running, they use their tails to help them steer and turn in the direction they want to go, like the rudder of a boat.

7) A cheetah’s tail is also essential during fast running because it balances the animal and allows sudden turns which happen often when the prey is trying to escape.

8) Although the cheetah runs very fast, it cannot run for very long. After 400 to 600 yards, a cheetah becomes exhausted and needs to take a rest.

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Cheetah Cubs, One Year Later

Sleepy Cheetah Cub (Photo: Julia M. Ozab)

Photo: Julia Ozab (May 5, 2012)

We saw them last year as cubs during our visit to Wildlife Safari. Now they’re almost full-grown and we got to see them again at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon as part of last Saturday’s animal-themed Family Day.

Cheetah on a bench

Photo: Julia Ozab (May 18, 2013)

Julia took the pictures on our iPhone through a window while it was raining. Not the best circumstances, but you can see how big they’ve gotten.

Cheetah closeup.

Photo: Julia Ozab (May 18, 2013)

We hope to see them at again at the Safari soon. In the meantime, here’s the three-part travel post I wrote about the park last year.

Plus galleries by Julia and Anna.