Does that mean that I can't be proud? Well, certainly not the haughty pride that makes a person self-proclaim superiority or greatness. I don't go in for that in-your-face, yelling and cheering kind of pride, but does that mean that I can't take pride in my work, pride in my school, or pride in my job?
You see, I've been thinking of this since seeing the new slogan for Joplin Schools:
I have little doubt that we are going to be proud of the work we do in our classroom this year - but rest assured, it will be earned pride and not empty pride that's thrust upon us just because of a kitschy slogan.
What indicates that a place is world famous? Because, honestly, I never heard another soul - outside of my family and the restaurant itself - mention this particular barbecue joint. No one! They didn't talk about it on the news. It wasn't mentioned in the sitcoms or on late night talk shows. Simply stated, it wasn't world-famous just because someone once came it there from another country and signed the guest book. Switzerland? Madagascar? No, that's just not how it works.
And that brings us back to the topic of pride. I refuse to be proud just because it's printed on a shirt or because someone yells it in a rally. I don't even want a person to "put on a good face" or "show a unified front" just for the sake of promoting a business or organization. You want me to be proud? Make me proud. Give me reasons to be genuinely proud. And then let me feel it for real. For myself.
I am an Eagle, a Missourian, and an American, but not because I happen to reside within arbitrary borders; I am an those things because I choose to be those things. And I am proud when I see the results of hard work, common sense, creativity, passion, and success. You don't have to ask for pride; pride happens naturally...and in this day and age, we just shouldn't be messing with nature.