The best kind of pride – pride in others

I have had a week of feeling proud – proud of so many school leaders I know, who have risen with grit and resilience to the challenges they have faced, proud of my executive leadership coachees who have reached the end of their programmes and who are evidently stronger and more focused … proud – insanely proud, in fact – of my 17 year old son. I hasten to say that this pride does not mean that he is some sort of angel, or that he doesn’t make me cross sometimes, or that he doesn’t upset me … and it certainly doesn’t mean that he would appreciate me writing this blog, but as he resolutely does not follow me on social media, then I reckon I am fairly safe in writing this, as long as you don’t tell him. And if he does find out, well … I don’t mind. I am too immensely proud for that, and I became his biggest advocate and supporter when I gave birth to him. There’s no changing that.

So, why am I so proud? Well, for the first month and a half (at least) of our lockdown here in the UK, he chose not to go outside at all. We talked about this, and I respected his decision, as it was a very reasoned thought process based on his strong desire to protect the rest of our family from any contact with Covid-19. With the advent of June, however, he decided to take on a challenge set every year by one of his teachers at Broughton High School, Edinburgh, namely DARED – Do A Run Every Day for charity. Harry decided that he would do this; I, meantime, was careful not to show too much of my enthusiasm, in case that might jinx his intentions (a choice which many parents of teenagers will recognise…), so I simply signed him up and started off by contributing to his sponsorship goal, which he set at £50, raising money for Circle, which supports families in need across Scotland.

The original plan was to do 5km a day, and he set out to do this, every day without fail. Then, within a few days, he started running for longer distances, and then longer. By 15th June he was running over 10km a day. He ran around Arthur’s Seat one day – 15.8km – and then another day to Cramond and back (18.5km). Then he ran to Portobello and back (18.8km), and then he ran to Fairmilehead and Mortonhall – 21km! His longest run to date was this one, towards the end of last week –

I asked him why, and in his typically dry manner he just said he did it because he could, although I know by some of his comments posted beside his runs, that he was striving to do just that bit better, to reach the next goal, be it 10k or 20k, or to achieve the longest run to date. What he has yet to appreciate, perhaps, is quite how much of an inspiring example this sets, and what a delight this is for educators to see, as well as for parents – and, indeed, for other fellow human beings. Determination, commitment, a growth mindset, a belief that everything is possible if you set your mind to it … this is an attitude to lift the soul of us all, especially when these qualities are employed in pursuit of a goal to support others.

So far – and I am writing this on 28 June, so with still 2 days to go – he has run over 275km and has raised over £800 for Circle, thanks to some absolutely amazing donors, who have commented on his JustGiving page that they are feeling inspired and proud of him too. I share in their delight.

Pride in another human being’s achievement – the best kind of pride. And if you want to see Harry’s runs, and experience Edinburgh vicariously, then do visit his page –

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