When pride became the name of a month that businesses and schools began to celebrate, I considered how our kids viewed the word itself.
I’ll be honest; I hesitated to write this post. I know I risk offending people on both sides of LGBTQ+ issues. However, If you spend time on the internet (and you do since you are reading this post), you know that ignoring Pride Month is hard. If you are a Christian, you may want to avoid the topic altogether or wonder if you should.
The debate around our schools is whether and when we should have LGBTQ+ discussions with our children. Last year, I discussed this very thing with a preschool director. Her organization asked her to promote Pride Month to her preschoolers. It was suggested she set up a display of rainbow flags and stickers to give to two, three, four, and five-year-olds. Monies were allocated for a “pride” celebration. Aside from the LGBTQ+ conversations, I began considering if and when we should celebrate the idea of pride.
What Bible says about pride
We encourage children to take pride in themselves and their achievements. As parents and educators, we love seeing individual children discover their likes and dislikes. It is not uncommon to tell children they should be proud of what they’ve done or who they are. Compare those ideas to Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” You can find many other biblical references that caution us about pride. Likewise, Proverbs 8:13 even tells us that God himself hates pride. Therefore, Knowing why pride is so strongly warned against is essential. Is it always a sin to feel proud of something you have accomplished? Is it a sin to be proud of who you are?
When pride is wrong
The Little Pot Becomes Proud
Pride is wrong when we value something over Christ himself. For example, we can help children learn about pride by reading The Little Pot. In the story, Little Pot was a proud paper pot when the potter gave it papers to hold. It felt smart. However, the potter took the papers away. Then, the little pot held coins and felt rich and proud. However, the potter removed the coins too. Eventually, the little pot grows fruit and discovers that having the potter grow fruit through it is best.
The Tea Pot is Proud
Even after the little pot becomes a fruit pot, pride creeps in. In the second book, The Tea Pot, a teapot convinces Little Pot that the fruit is something it should be proud of. The two vessels decide they want to keep the fruit and tea. Essentially their fruit and tea become more important than the potter. In addition, they forget that the potter grows the fruit and brews the tea. They are merely the vessels that the potter works through.
The Oil Lamp Burns Proudly
Pride is also illustrated in the third book, The Oil Lamp. In this story, a little oil lamp learns to shine a light. Yet, when the lamp becomes proud of the flame, it blazes hotter and burns the other vessels. This causes them to move away from the light.
Burnout and Wanting to Fit In.
The fourth book, Burnout Fit In, tells what happens when pride appears after God elevates us to a higher calling or position. Oil Lamp has been placed on a pedestal to shine in this story. Its position causes it to have pride and look down at the other vessels. Therefore, it becomes lonely and runs out of oil. Oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the potter needs to refill the lamp. He uses a humble jar that does not feel fits in.
Pride can lead us away from our creator.
The same things can happen to us. When we grow love, joy, peace, patience (etc.), we can become more focused on the character traits than the fact that they are the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Our potter grows them through us. In the same way, we can also develop pride in how we shine. We begin to think we are the ones who create light and forget that God put the light inside us. In doing so, we “burn” so brightly that we turn others away from Christ instead of drawing them closer to Him. On our own, we will burn out. Pride is wrong when we value the things God gives us over God Himself. Pride is wrong when we no longer see God’s part in it.
“Keep seeking Jesus more than your calling”.
“Time Spent with Christ is far more important than the things I do for Christ of any title I hold”.–Beth Moore and Heather Riggleman
When pride is good
Pride is good when we see that without God, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Therefore, our pride is in Christ, and we give God praise for the things we do and have. If we see things this way, we have humility. Likewise, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
Today “Pride” is also defined as the self-affirmation, dignity, and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The word encourages these people (and others) to be proud of who they are. Aside from your position on the lifestyle or biblical teachings against homosexual activities, one should ask if it is good to be proud of who we are apart from Christ. As Christians, our identity should be found in Him, not ourselves. Identity is number one in Little Pot’s Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum and our 7 Free Lesson Plans for Teaching How to Grow Character. That’s because a vessel must never forget the potter created it. We grow fruit, serve, and shine at the potter’s will, not our own.
As a Christian school principal, I always tried to make sure my students gave God recognition when they did something extraordinary. I would say things like, “Thanks for letting God use you!” or “You did that?! That’s awesome. God is so amazing to use you in that way!” It’s essential to keep our kids’ focus on the fact that God works in us to do good. And we should always be proud of that!
Become a fruit-bearing vessel like Little Pot!
Being a fruit-bearing vessel is more complex than reading a children’s picture book. That is why Little Pot and I have developed seven ideas that allow the potter to grow love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control through you. Just enter your first name and email so we can send you those seven steps. Additionally, you’ll get a fruitful Friday email each week with ways to be even more fruitful!
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