The word "proud" has also been on my radar lately for similar reasons. When we say we are proud of someone, including our kids, it is making their accomplishments or characteristics about us and how we are feeling rather than them. They *made* us "proud" by something they did or said.
I'm not sure I'm explaining this well and am having a hard time putting it into words. Telling our kids that we are proud of them is similar to a reward, taking away from the intrinsic value and motivation they have that naturally comes from doing things that feel right and good. It takes the ownership and focus off of them and shifts it towards us, even if in a slight and seemingly insignificant way.
Now, to be clear I'm not saying that I never feel that feeling that wells up inside of us when we see our children do something loving for someone else, or when they master a new skill, or any other awesome act we witness in the children in our lives - not at all! And of course we want to let them know that we are feeling a very powerful, positive emotion when we see these things happen. We want to connect and to let them know that we *see* them. But I do believe that it is good to examine our own motives and the words we use to describe our feelings so our children can own their experiences.
So with that in mind I have thought of at least three new ways to tell Marisol (and Gerry) how I feel when I see them growing into such beautiful people... I feel impressed, inspired, and most of all In love.
Can you think of other ways to describe that feeling we normally think of as "proud"?