Posted by: Joe Palmer | May 26, 2009

One Proud Papa: Letting your child know you love them.


You have all seen the bumper stickers, “Proud parent of an Honor Roll student at _________ School.” So often we put our pride in the accomplishments of our children in some arena of life.
• My son/daughter is a star on a sports team.
• My son/daughter won the spelling bee.
• My child made straight A’s.
• The Band my son/daughter plays in was all state.

On and on our list of things for which we claim bragging rights goes. What about just being proud of our kid for who they are, instead of what they accomplished. As an issue of full disclosure my son isn’t an honor roll student. He didn’t excel at any sport. He tried a few things he enjoyed but nothing has yet really struck him as the one thing he loves.

I am proud of my son. I am proud of the person he is, and the man he is becoming. I am proud of him as much for the things he didn’t do, as I am for the things he did. He didn’t do drugs. He never drank alcohol. I’m not a grandfather. He’s not rebellious. He goes to church with me and doesn’t resent it, even though I’m a preacher.

I’m proud of him for the things he survived. He and I have been through some rough times. Most kids face some struggles. They make some mistakes, or just as bad, have to deal with the mistakes we make as parents. He has had to deal with both his mistakes, my mistakes, and his mother’s mistakes. It’s hard coming to grips with your parent’s humanity. It is hard facing your mistakes head on. He did both.

Like most parents I worry about my son. Almost 18, and just about to graduate, he’s going to make some more mistakes. I did too. I however have a great deal of confidence that he will find his way. He survived this far despite all the mistakes I made. It’s not the mistakes that kill us; it is when we refuse to learn from our mistakes that we are doomed.

Most especially, I am happy to say I like my son. I enjoy his company. That in itself gives me peace, because we have a relationship. One in which we are honest. I know he knows the way home, if he needs home again.

So here is a salute to my son, who is a 2009 graduate of Niceville High School.

Maybe, just maybe you have been searching to let your child know that you are proud of them. However, you do it I urge you to let them know that you are proud of them.

Joe Palmer



  1. This was so sweet, Joe. You’re a great dad.

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