Pride, Self-Respect That Inspires

Pride, Self-Respect That Inspires

  • “I am impelled, not to squeak like a grateful apologetic mouse, but roar like a lion out of pride in my profession.”

    -John Steinbeck

Some say it comes before a fall, many will point out that it’s one of the big seven, the deadly sins and still others may quote the great philosopher, St. Augustine, who claimed that it changed angels into devils. I don’t usually argue with saints but on this one, I’m willing to go a few rounds. I’m talking about pride. The emotional status, the feeling, that state of being, pride.

Despite all the arcane doom and gloom, the warnings from grandparents and wizened pundits sitting in rocking chairs on sun dappled porches yelling at youngsters about the inevitable outcome of having pride, it’s really something that shouldn’t be shunned. Having pride is good. It shows you care about something, you have passion about something and, as long as you keep your ego in check about it, it gives people a clear insight into your character. Pride is a feeling that often takes us by surprise and, when it’s at its best, it’s focused outside ourselves on someone else personally or on their accomplishments.

We see pride so often in the eyes of a parent when their child does something extraordinary, when they graduate, hit the homerun, get accepted to that perfect college, there’s pride. And there should be. Why? Because there is love for that child and there is the hope that they will survive in this world and there is a small part of the parent that thinks, my late night talks, my encouragement, my discipline, rubbed off and helped make this kid something special.

On a small side street in Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po district is a noodle shop called Lau Sum Kee. There are literally hundreds of noodle shops in this part of town and yet, Lau Sum Kee is always busy, crowded, filled with the sounds of laughter, slurping, now and then, the silence of people eating food so good no words are required or sufficient. What makes this place so special is the fact that owner, Lau-Fat Cheong and his two brothers, make their noodles from scratch the same way they’ve been made for 60 years. Not only are they made from scratch, they are jook sing noodles, meaning they are made by bouncing on and flattening the dough with a bamboo pole. This is ancient stuff and now, Cheong and his brothers are three of the few that still practice this method. When they go, it very well could be forgotten. There will still be noodles, but never the same as the jook sing style. Cheong and his brothers understand the importance of continuing this method and they take great pride in their shop and their noodles. This pride comes from following tradition, using only the right ingredients and caring enough to go through the, what can sometimes be a painful, long process, of bouncing on the bamboo pole to create the perfect noodle. Care, commitment and respect for the simple ways things can be done, and, should be done. Despite modern methods available, these men adhere to tenets of an older world at the center of which is pride.

Again, not to rattle the bones of any philosopher Saints but, I don’t see devils here, only culinary angels.

My father was a civil engineer before he retired and devoted his life to a love hate relationship with the Boston Red Sox. Some weekends, he’d pack the family into the car and we’d drive down to Marshfield, a little, one time, sleepy seaside town where an aunt had a cottage. As we passed through Boston, my dad would eye the skyline with quiet pride. Not a man to brag, my mother did it for him. Pointing to buildings that grabbed up pieces of the sky, saying, didn’t you work on that one, Jack? He’s nod, say sure and then, if we were lucky, he’d tell some story of how it was to stand on a beam forty stories up drinking a cup of coffee. Understated, never one to boast, but, when my father looks at the Boston skyline and has run out of fingers and toes to count the number of buildings he shed sweat and blood, time and energy to put up, he has pride.

Pride Transport  is aptly named. It is run by folks who have been driving trucks all their lives. They care about drivers, they care about driver support personnel and they care about the quality and the professionalism of their service. It is in their mission statement, it’s in their actions. It’s more than words, it’s how they run their family orientated business. So, it makes sense that this trucking company would be called Pride. However, those who work for them would say that even if that were not their name, their pride of purpose and execution would still shine through. That which we call Pride Transport, by any other name, would be as strong.

We’re asking drivers, non drivers, pedestrians, teachers, factory workers, doctors, dentists, Uber drivers and all sorts of folks who may read this; “What’s your pride?” What is it that makes you proud in your daily trip around the sun? What do you point at, publicly or privately, and say, I did that or, we made that or,  I was part of the team that created that. So, tell us, share with us, what’s your pride. Don’t be shy and don’t listen to St. Augustine, he needed a day at the beach and mai tai more than any man in history. Send us your thoughts, share with us your pride and send some inspiration to the world.

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