Topic 1: Pride: Vice or Virtue
Should we be proud of things we’ve made? Proud of what we do? The things we have?
Can we be proud of things others do? Such as a friend, or a sister?
Can we be too proud?
Questions of pride are complex. Aristotle considered pride to be a virtue, second only to wisdom, while the Bible favours humility and casts pride as one of the ‘seven deadly sins’. Aristotle considered undue humility to be a vice, because an accomplished but excessively humble person is not being true to himself.
Justified pride, then, it can be argued, is the midpoint between vanity and arrogance at one end, and undue humility on the other.
So, like most ethical issues, the question, ‘When do we have a right to be proud?’ cannot be answered with a single, simple answer, and children and adults alike will offer a range of viewpoints when asked to respond to scenarios in which pride is a factor.
In our first topic for the year, we use everyday scenarios to consider when characters may and might not feel pride in a situation.
Should Jack be proud of the science experiment he develops for the competition? Should he be even more proud because he made it all by himself? What if Jack doesn’t receive any kind of prize or recognition for his work. Should that have a bearing on how he feels about his effort?
Why does Jess say she’s proud of her little sister Elsa for scoring two goals in soccer? Does the fact she helped her practice come into it?
We finish the topic with a review of the powerful Greek myth, Daedalus and Icarus to help students consider whether we can be too proud.
ACTIVITY: STORY & DISCUSSION
You may like to read the tale of Daedalus and Icarus to your child, and follow with a discussion.
1. Icarus was proud of his wings. If you were Icarus, would you be proud of them? Why?
You can prompt with:
− Do you remember how Icarus collected the feathers to make the wings – day after day? If you’d done that, would you be proud of your wings?
− Do you think the wings would have looked beautiful? They worked well too. Would that have made you proud?
2. Did Icarus have a right to be proud of his wings?
Encourage and broaden discussion with the following questions, as needed:
− Who thought up the idea of the wings?
− Who designed and created the wings?
− Can Icarus be proud of his contribution, even if it was small, or not? Why?
3. Is it possible that Icarus was too proud of his ability to fly?