At the outset let me tell you that I do not like to say “I am proud of you” to my daughter. First of all, ‘pride’ is not something that I wish to ‘cultivate’. Pride is not a very positive sentiment, and can be painful at some stage. So I do not like to say “I am proud of you”.

Last week my daughter aced the class X Cbse exam – she got 498/500 – with a 100 in 3 subjects – math, English and social studies and 99 in 2 subjects – Sanskrit and Science.


So obviously the congratulations have been pouring in and she is now being toasted and felicitated. Almost every message says “I am sure you are a proud parent”.

Actually I am not. No, I am not proud of ‘her’ achievement. It is HER achievement. I do not ‘own’ her or the ‘achievement’. I can only be proud of ‘something’ that I own. I do not own the achievement. It is hers. Completely hers. So I am not proud of ‘her’ achievement.

Second pride is NOT something that I like to cultivate. When somebody praises what I do, I let that praise go to my head for 20 seconds or 30 seconds and then come down to earth. The minute you realize that if God had not given me this skill (and luck) I would have achieved NOTHING. So tomorrow if I were to lose my voice, or my ability to stand in one place and deliver lectures to an audience, or the ability to write – all these are God given. So why should there be pride? Kill the pride.

You can be happy and grateful for what you have achieved, but pride is not the right sentiment. That is my feeling.

Parent:            ‘I’m so proud that you got all India first in class X of cbse’

How will the child feel? Frankly I did NOTHING for her to achieve the amazing marks. Her marks are far higher than what I achieved ever. Sure many people said “like father, like daughter” – hey they have not seen any of my marksheets, clearly! And I have to ask myself  ‘Who was it that put in the hard hours to get such marks? Who put in the long hours of math practice to get 100/100? Why are you taking the credit for my effort?’ 

Now – I may have spent hours helping my daughter with the homework (which I did not!) – or even completing her assignment.  I may have paid money, for her coaching and classes.  If this is the case, then of whom AM I really proud?  Is my daughter’s achievement actually a reflection of MY achievement?

Proud – a wrong praise, and that too external endorsement!

I seriously do not think that my daughter should want an outside endorsement. It is NEVER to be aimed at. You should ALWAYS get pleasure from the effort that you put in, and the reward that you got. Seeking an ‘external’ endorsement is very painful. As time goes on, when she does well in other exams, if SHE DOES NOT HEAR ‘I am proud of you’ – will she feel that her achievements are less?

Charleszetta Waddles (African American activist): “You can’t give people pride, but you can provide the kind of understanding that makes people look to their inner strengths and find their own sense of pride”. Exactly. 

Proud – am I acting superior to her? 

When I say “I am proud of you” am I sounding patronising and ‘superior’ to her? What if she is say ranked 12th all India at the next exam will I just say “that was nice” – thus making her feel worthless for not standing first? Am I not creating grounds for future disappointment? Also in my case I have only one child, I would hate it if my sibling had got 498/500 – and he/she was elder to me!

So I am impressed with my daughter’s achievement, I am pleased for her, I am proud FOR HER, I am thrilled that her efforts have been rewarded – her marks are the cake, the all India rank is the icing, ….oh yes there are other things to say for sure!

Oh yes, I wish her luck and success in all her future activities – exam or otherwise.

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  1. Sir, You are talking too professionally. Congrats to your Daughter & We wish for her success in future..

  2. Chill, Subra ! Enjoy the moment. You may not take any credit for your child’s exemplary performance, but it wouldn’t have been possible without you! Your presence, support and just being around her makes a huge difference.
    Very happy for you and your child.

  3. Very well written. You are realist, humble and modest. I respect and appreciate what you have written here. Both of my daughters have many such achievements and I feel the same as you.

  4. Not all can be paint with same brush and I feel sometimes it is OK to have pride on your children’s achievements..You may not have helped your kid’s homework or assignment, but you are having good financial knowledge and plan, healthy money flow, time for your child, etc, etc for your kid and so she was able to Concentrate on Studies and Extra Curricular Activities….but unfortunately this is not the case with majority in India.

    You would have heard the inspiring stories of people making to the top instead of belonging to the poor family..remember the famous modified Chaiwaala?…You may not go to a roof top and shout it loud abt their achievement but yeah…it makes sense…

    Apart from the chaiwalas, you would seen many poor people living in slums daily wage labourers etc , having modest means to meet daily need, their primary priority is food and shelter…

    On top of that society pressure, one if it is a boy he will support by working hard very early(child labourers) and two if it is a girl(support family by cook wash and get married and do the same ad raise baby at in-laws place)

    On top of that poor literacy in India(Remember the baniya’s from old hindi movies who such the poor family by forged docs/thumb impression), inflation, corruption, reservation and what not…

    In spite of all the hardship, their children go up and serve the family, the community and the Nation, such parents are bound to be Proud.

    Apart from the chaiwalas, there are Brista Coffee Sippers residing in high rise apartments having lacs of home loan and absolutely NO financial literacy and NO time for family….

    In spite of all the hardship, their children go up and serve the family, the community and the nation, such parents are bound to be Proud… once they just realise how stupid they are.

  5. Congrats Subra Ji..!!
    Exams or not…with a father like you…she is a champion in the making !!
    Good luck for her future..

  6. Subra,

    Congratulations to the Mridula and her parents. As a member of Subramoney reading family, I am very happy for her achievement. Wish her all the best for her future.

  7. Ahh…Very few people like you exist today. No doubt you raised your daughter perfectly. Kudos to Mridula for her hard work !!

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