Parenthood can be tough, but seeing our children grow and blossom into their own is truly a gift that keeps on giving. As these parents found out, some of their proudest moments as a parent involved not grades, but instances where their offspring showed kindness, generosity, compassion, and more.
#1 Striking an unlikely friendship
“Watching my teenage daughter befriend our elderly neighbour. They teach each other so much about life. Their friendship is unconventional but they’re seriously best friends. It’s adorable.”—PaperRigby
#2 Showing thought and initiative
“There was a snowy day, but I was busy with work in my office. I went into the living room where my son was supposed to be playing video games and couldn’t find him—searched the house, no where to be found. So I went out and found him playing in the snow (he was five or six years old).
I told him, “Oh buddy, please don’t go outside without telling me, and please wait for me to finish my work. I’ll come out to shovel the snow and then you can play.” Then I looked closer and noticed that he had his little shovel in his hands and was already shovelling part of the sidewalk. He replied, “But daddy, if I shovel now, there will be less for you to do when you are finished with work!” —billbapapa
#3 Standing up for himself
“My son stood up to a bully recently even though he knew the outcome. He got the sh*t kicked out of him, but after his defiance landed the bully in trouble, all the kids at his school started standing up for themselves more. I love that kid.” —my_future_wife
#4 The budding scientist
“Me: Look at the pretty clouds.
My four-year-old daughter: Those are cirrus clouds. They mean a storm is coming soon.
I had to turn to Google to see if she was right. Curious George is a great show!” —Witty_Imagination
#5 Lending a helping hand
“My grownup son was at a family party recently, and as we were all getting ready to go, he went over and asked if she was going to need help cleaning up—he could stay and give her a hand. When they’re all in their thirties and still remember lessons in politeness that you tried to drill in at age two… He also spent a whole afternoon carefully teaching my baby grandson to say “Happy Birthday” just so the wee tyke could tell me so.” —Backman34
#6 The quick reader
“I haven’t been a parent very long (only five years) but the proudest I’ve felt is when she started reading. My kindergartener went into the school year only able to read her name and a couple sight words (a, and, the), which is normal.
Around the holidays, she picked up a flyer sitting on our kitchen table and started reading it out loud. My wife and I shot each other a glance like “Are you seeing this?” Pretty soon she read the whole thing (it was a flyer for a kids’ Christmas party, so nothing difficult). Then she did the cutest thing. She looked off in the distance and goes “Huh. I can read?” Then put the flyer down and galloped out of the kitchen. My wife and I laughed and hugged and had a mini celebration.
We just ran into her teacher last week at the store and she said “Your daughter is reading at a level E now, which is about a year ahead of schedule.” We’re so proud of that little monkey.” —BoomChocolateLatkes
#7 Thoughtfulness goes a long way
“My son is eight years old. He’s got a huge heart and he’s so thoughtful. One day, my wife had some nursing friends over to study for an exam and he set all kinds of snacks out for them. Then he went outside with an umbrella when he heard that one of the girls was close to the house and just waited.
When she arrived, he met her at her car and escorted her in. We never asked him to do that. Later around lunchtime I was upstairs watching TV and he brought his lunch up with two forks and wanted to share with me. It was his favourite kind of food too, that he doesn’t get to eat very often. I told him several times throughout the day how proud of him I am, and what a good man he will become.” —beefcase2
#8 Leading by example
“We had a parent-teacher meeting at my daughter’s kindergarten, and after we covered the academics, the teacher said, ‘I have to tell you something.’
Teacher: ‘You know, she’s the social leader. She’s the one all the kids want to be friends with. There is a boy in the class, she decided he needed a friend. So she asked to sit next to him at his table. She has made the entire class adapt their recess games so that he can play. If a game involves touching (he doesn’t like to be touched), she makes sure it isn’t an issue. The entire class follows her lead. I can never comment on another child, but anyone can observe that he used to be in our classroom an hour a day. And now he is here full-time! If she does nothing else ever, she has changed one life.’
I found out later that ‘if something bothers him’ was a specific colour that freaked him out. She got all the kids to get rid of crayons and pencils that were that colour, and got permission from the teacher to take down everything on the walls that had that colour. Kids also completely stopped wearing that colour, because she made sure they understood that it hurt him. Meltdowns dropped dramatically and they were able to mainstream him 100 per cent.” —hahahathunk
#9 Sibling revelry
“My son is five and my daughter is three. They sleep in separate bedrooms next to each other—they used to share a room until recently, and have been adjusting. My daughter didn’t want to go to bed and was whining a bit in her room. I was on my way to check on her and I saw my son sitting on the edge of her bed. He was holding her hand. He leaned down, hugged her and kissed her. He said ‘I know you have to sleep alone now and you’re scared, but I’m just right there. It will be morning soon’ and he walked out. I was amazed and super proud at his compassion for her.” —Hayleyeden
Editor’s note: Stories have been edited for length and/or clarity