Say It Proud

I’m going to say this now: I’m proud of you. That’s it. You can stop reading here if you want. I know you’re busy. So take the kids to karate class, scrub your bathroom mirror, schedule a dentist appointment, wash your dog, live your life amidst a worldwide pandemic.

Buy more hand sanitizer. Get some organic peach-smelling disinfectant. Scrub your surfaces, doorknobs, children, pets, and spouse head-to-toe with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. But just remember that I’m proud of you.

The thing is, I don’t think we tell each other how special we are. I don’t think people get enough attaboys, well-dones, or five-dollar beer pitchers.

So I’m proud of you. For not giving up. For eating breakfast. I’m proud of you for remembering to breathe and keep going. Really.

I’m also proud of Billy. He emailed me. He’s forty-nine. He’s been working in construction all his life, and he couldn’t read until a few years ago.

His friend gave him reading lessons every morning on the ride to work. And on weekends. They practiced on lunch breaks.

Billy started with elementary school books. Recently he read the “Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes Stories.”

He reads aloud sometimes, during lunch break to the fellas. He said he’s been practicing reading the same stories so many times, he’s almost memorized them.

I’m proud of Leona, who had the courage to check into addiction rehab recently. She’s a young woman, and she needs someone to be proud of her. So I guess I’ll have to do.

I’m proud of her aunt, too—who is helping to raise Leona’s daughter.

And Michael, who just asked Jessica to marry him—on Christmas morning. He squatted down onto one knee in front of seventeen family members, one woman, and her three children.

He gave Jessica and each of her children a ring.

He said, “Will you be my everything, forever and always?”

Jessica’s oldest (Brooke, age eleven) got so excited she blurted an answer before anyone else.

“YESYESYESYES!” Brooke said.

I’m proud of Boyd, who got his first job as an electrician. And Lawrence, for rescuing kittens he found on his hunting property.

I’m extra proud of Sylvia, who walked for the first time after her car accident. Physical therapists have been helping her ever since doctors amputated Sylvia’s left leg. She was fitted with her first prosthetic and is very excited.

Sylvia’s mother tells me, “I’m so proud of my daughter, she won’t quit fighting…”

If you’re still reading, I’m still proud of you. For the little and the big. For making toast without burning the house down. For telling your boss you won’t work weekends. For forgiving someone who hurt you. For not letting the fear paralyze you when it seems like the whole world is infected.

You’re something else. You just forget sometimes. Maybe you’ve lost your mother, your father, son, daughter, grandparents, dog, cat, iguana, skateboard, or sanity. Maybe you’ve lost yourself.

Or maybe it’s been awhile since anyone kissed your forehead and reminded you of how incredible you are. Maybe you are under socialized or socially isolated.

Well, I can’t rewind a wristwatch, and I can’t make magic. I wish I could, but I can’t do anything. Sometimes, I’m not even sure I can spel my wurds rite.

But I can be proud of you, whether you feel it or not. And I am. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. Whatever you face. You beat all. And I want you to know it. That’s it. Have a nice day, and be nice to people.

You can start with yourself.


  1. Ramona Brookins - December 27, 2020 7:34 am

    Your stories always make me smile. Thank you!

  2. Janie Logan - December 27, 2020 8:36 am

    I’m proud of you for being so intuitive and saying just what many of us needed to hear. A sweet young mommy lost her 23 months old baby boy this summer,one month shy of his second birthday. The pit bull belonging to a hateful neighbor got out of it’s poorly maintained yard, came down to where the little boy was playing outside. The little boy only wanted to pet the dog. The dog pulled him out of the poorly fenced gate killed him and dragged his body back to the dog’s yard. This has been devastating for the little boy’s family. This would have been the little boy’s second Christmas.

  3. Joe - December 27, 2020 10:14 am

    All your articles are good! Thud one is great!

  4. oldlibrariansshelf - December 27, 2020 11:14 am

    Thanks, Sean. The heart in your writing is amazing!

  5. Dana - December 27, 2020 12:29 pm

    I’m proud of you Sean and all your powerful words. Thank you!


  6. Melanie - December 27, 2020 1:18 pm

    Thank you Sean ☺️ We are all so very proud of you. ❤️(((Virtual neck hug)))

  7. Suzanne Moore - December 27, 2020 1:23 pm

    I am proud of you, Sean. You use your talent and your heart to brighten our world every day. You help us to be wiser and more caring and more positive in a time when being positive might be a struggle. I’m not sure how you manage to do this every day, but I promise you that your light is shining brightly out here in the hinterland. God bless you and your family!

  8. Bobby - December 27, 2020 1:29 pm

    I read your columns every day and most make me smile or draw a tear. Today’s is no exception except for the statement to “tell your boss you won’t work weekends.” I spent 35 years in law enforcement. Somebody has to work weekends. Bad guys don’t take weekends off.

  9. Myra - December 27, 2020 1:32 pm

    Thank you Sean. I am proud of you too! I SO NEEDED to hear your words this morning! I read them after I made myself cook and eat a solitary breakfast.

  10. Chris - December 27, 2020 1:37 pm

    I’m proud of myself for having the good sense to read your column the first thing every day.
    Sometimes it makes me smile sometimes cry but it always reminds me that what I say and do affects everyone I come in contact with that day. I’m a better person ( most days) because of your words.

  11. Bob Brenner - December 27, 2020 1:44 pm

    I love myself and will take better care of myself! Soon to be 74 years old! Thanks Sean, I don’t know you but I am proud of the love that shines through almost every article you write. ❤️

  12. Lana Kaiser - December 27, 2020 1:47 pm

    You make the world a better place one story at a time.

  13. Rebecca Lee - December 27, 2020 1:47 pm

    So appropriate this year. I love your heart-felt writings. You touch so many hearts. Thank you

  14. Joey - December 27, 2020 2:02 pm

    What a great sentiment!
    I can’t remember when or where I ran across these words, but they’re pretty good to keep handy for just those times when you’re beating yourself up: “Forgive yourself. You did the best with who you were at the time.”

  15. John I. - December 27, 2020 2:08 pm

    I’m proud of you Bobby for working those weekends when you probably would have liked taking the off. Thank you for being there.

  16. billllly - December 27, 2020 2:19 pm

    I’m proud of you, Sean. As a writer (novelist) I can’t imagine putting out such a quality piece every single day. You are amazing. And you help me get every day off to a good start. billllly

  17. Victoria Reiff - December 27, 2020 2:46 pm

    I just recently picked up your book. (I was Christmas shopping aimlessly and I just happened to pick it up and the first thing I read was “Dietrich is a southern Garrison Keillor” and I bought it without another thought.)
    Like Keillor you completely make known to the reader/listener what your hometowns feel like. It always leaves me with the intense urge to live in all the small towns. But I can’t do that so I’ll just try and view my small town through the same lens that you do. And find the beauty in the small odd things that make it home.
    I’m proud of you to

  18. Pondcrane - December 27, 2020 2:47 pm

    Your father would be proud of you.

  19. Debbie - December 27, 2020 2:48 pm

    Sean, you brought me to my knees with this. I’m still wiping away tears. Thank you for your empathy and for truly understanding what we are all going through, thank you for being proud of us. I’m proud of you, too, for being such a good and kind human.

  20. Sidney - December 27, 2020 2:50 pm

    Thank you for these words. You made my day.

  21. Ann - December 27, 2020 2:52 pm

    Back atcha..👏🏻❤️

  22. Kathie - December 27, 2020 3:40 pm

    I love you, Sean. You are the kindest, most compassionate man I know. And I don’t even know you. You are a special messenger from the Lord.

  23. Cheryl - December 27, 2020 3:43 pm

    Thank you. I think we ALL needed to hear that! And I’m proud of you for writing these every single day. I look forward to reading them and would miss them so much if you ever stopped.

  24. Bobbie - December 27, 2020 3:43 pm

    Sean, you are amazing! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! Just that you thought to write this. What Hope it gives! Knowing someone is rooting for us on days we may feel like staying in bed, days when the phone doesn’t ring…when we think would anyone miss me if I just packed up and moved away!
    Thank you for your huge heart, always thinking of others.
    God bless you. ❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  25. Gene - December 27, 2020 3:58 pm

    What a great reminder! If people can’t see our smiles right now, we can still cheer them with our words.

  26. Patricia Gibson - December 27, 2020 4:07 pm

    God bless you, Sean❤️

  27. Elaine - December 27, 2020 4:31 pm

    I’m always proud of you for never giving up on reminding us that there is more good in the world than bad, and that there is always hope, and for never giving up on yourself or anyone else ❤️

  28. Dianne Deavours Shafer - December 27, 2020 4:37 pm

    And I’m proud of you, Sean, for celebrating the good. The good effort, the kindness to others, the smile hidden by a mask yet exchanged with a stranger, the helping hand, the ‘atta boy. I’m proud of you and grateful to you for lifting these things up.

  29. Jo Downs - December 27, 2020 5:18 pm

    For everyone that keeps getting up, showing up, and pushing through, you’ve got this! Thank you Sean for continuing to be true to you. There really are more ordinary folk out there than most realize. You write to and for us. ~ Jo

  30. Carol mcrae - December 27, 2020 5:38 pm

    This was a special piece. Thank you! I’m proud of you for not giving up. We need it, you know it and you keep going. Thank you!

  31. Phyllis - December 27, 2020 5:55 pm

    I am proud of you every day. Your words make a positive difference to so many of us. We did make it through this very different Christmas. Your thoughts help us make it through each day – usually with some of your positivity left over to share with our people.

  32. Meg - December 27, 2020 5:57 pm

    As always, you seem to be given the right message just for me…though I am sure, especially after reading the above comments, your words reach us all in one way or another. You are what they call a ‘wordmaster’. Thank you for helping me to accept things in my life as they are and to be thankful for all the blessings…all I have to do is look around and there are plenty of blessings, which humble me.

  33. Linda Hill - December 27, 2020 6:29 pm

    Sean, I don’t know if you have the time (or interest) to read all the comments your postings receive, even during this pandemic. But I want you to know I am proud of You. Just think of all the challenges you have overcome! And now, what a wonderful example you are to others, to help them overcome the difficulties in their lives. Maybe God gave you your tough situations, just so that you can now be such an important part of helping others deal with their challenges. THANKS, from all of us. We’re Proud of You.

  34. Tkeene - December 27, 2020 6:55 pm

    I’ve recently discovered your books & your podcast -thanks to Ben & Erin Napier Instagram mentioning you -I cried today reading your column -because I can’t remember the last time someone told me they were proud of me -I’m not whining 2020 has been rough for so many people -I just think everyone needs to hear it -I read your column daily to my husband who has Alzheimer’s with short term memory loss-yest he started reading one of your books-today he doesn’t remember what he read yest-BUT when I read your column he loves it, & he makes comments about how he loves your writing-even though tomorrow he won’t remember what I read -So I will say thank you for what you do -I love your stories -thank you for the laughter & the tears -Blessings to you ‘ your family

  35. Jenny Young - December 27, 2020 7:24 pm

    Sean, every time I read your blog I want to stop & tell someone I love them. Sometimes because I really want them to know that they are loved & sometimes because I want to hear them say it back to me. Some days it’s just my dog I say it to. Every day I talk to my grandson he hears the words….how happy I am that he belongs to me.

    Your words make me feel loved & that makes me want to spread it….what an awesome thing that you do with your words…whether they’re spelled correctly or not!

  36. Deanna Dean - December 27, 2020 8:30 pm

    Thanks Sean. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear those words. I hope you all had a blessed Christmas. Happiest new year to you!

  37. Bill - December 27, 2020 9:14 pm


    I’m proud of the work you do…helping to keep our spirits up. Keep up the gud wurk…Blessings to you in the New Year to come…

  38. Linda Moon - December 27, 2020 10:41 pm

    I couldn’t begin reading this post ’til later today because I was very busy. So I’ll make this brief: you are special, Sean
    Dietrich. My “Sylvia” lost her leg to cancer when we were teen-age friends. We’re both still here, two fighters and survivors of that disease. And you know what else, Sean? I’m proud of you!!

  39. Willie37 - December 28, 2020 2:56 am

    Thanks, Sean, I needed that; especially today.

  40. allisvant - December 28, 2020 4:37 am

    Sean; I’ve been a busy daddy & grandpa these past several days; so today I binge-read a weeks worth of your epistles to us, your followers; not sure that I’d recommend that for everyone – unless they wanted to laugh, snort, cry, snort, be saddened, uplifted, encouraged, see the hand of God at work in people’s lives; have doubts & fears relieved – all in a 30 minute timeframe; then try to go to sleep with the Andy Griffith theme and a Bill Gaither tune swirling around in your head! Proud of you too, bro.

  41. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - December 28, 2020 7:37 am


  42. Margaret E Odell - December 28, 2020 10:21 am

    Thanks, Sean. I’m proud of you too! You just keep going, making a difference in my life each day. That’s an amazing gift and for that I’m proud of you.

  43. Debbie g - December 28, 2020 1:42 pm

    Thank you Sean we are so blessed to have you encouraging all of us And yes we are proud of you and Jamie too !!!!!

  44. Debbie Cloud - December 28, 2020 2:00 pm

    “You beat all”. I’m glad you included that phrase. My mama used to say it and I haven’t heard it in so long. Thanks!

  45. lfry1220 - December 28, 2020 2:07 pm

    Thank you, Sean. And I’m proud of you for beginning my days on a positive note. You make a BIG difference to all all of us.

  46. Christie McRae - December 28, 2020 7:03 pm

    Thank you Sean. So proud of you and the writings that meet us where we live, the people you meet along life’s way. You’ve inspired and encouraged me on a day I needed it so much.

  47. Kathleen Haas Woodbury - December 29, 2020 9:06 pm

    I’m proud of you too Sean! You have a wonderful way of lifting people up, some days after reading your column it’s just a simple chuckle to myself, others I am so moved and need to share it with my hubby, and sometimes I might find a darn water spigot running down my cheeks! Anyway keep up the good work, I am proud of you!
    God bless!

  48. Julie - January 20, 2021 4:55 am

    “You beat everything, Barney/Sean…you know that?!” Andy knew….and so do we!! With Love and Pride, from your adoring readers❣️


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