Teaching Humility

Humility is an often misunderstood virtue, especially in today's culture.  We want our children to be strong, self sufficient and independent.  Washingfeet

Humility, however, is a core virtue to instill, and it often has deep implications into other virtues, morals, and values.

Equally tricky is the fact that humility must be modeled, not explained.  If you want your children to read, you must read.  If you want your children to exercise, you must exercise. And if you want your children to learn humility, you must model it. 

To be honest, this virtue did not come easy to me at first.  I grew up in the competitive, dog eat dog world and most of what I've learned about humility, I have learned from my father in law and from my wife.   

My best understanding of humility is that yes, I can be successful, talented, or blessed but I must also remember that I am but one small person in God's large world.  My successes in life are not just for myself, but for the good of all. 

I've been very lucky to meet a lot of highly successful men, my father in law included, who despite success, remains humble. 

The trick in parenting is to encourage and congratulate children for their successes, blessings, wins, etc. but to also keep them looking at the bigger picture.  Focusing on what really matters, not majoring in the minors.

We have all been witness to people who spend their lives chasing success or money and then they feel no shame in flaunting it to those less fortunate or to those who spend their lives pursuing more altruistic causes.

Humility Another problem is falling prey to societies self-centeredness.  Many times when children become good at something, especially when it gets them praise from parents, peers and teachers, they focus on this superiority as the root of their worth and love. 

Hollywood and the media do a great job of telling our children that their worth is measured by their looks, wallet and the brands they wear and drive.  It is our job as parents to deflect this and teach reality.

Instilling humility gives our children many things.  It gives them perspective, honesty, and it shows them their true worth. 

One great way of teaching humility is failure.  I learned humility many times through this sometimes painful life lesson!

When your children fail at something, let them know that you love them for who they are, not for what they do. 

This is also a great life lesson.  People are valuable because they are human and God's people not because of what they have or do.

Humility also strengthens security. 

I felt the most secure in my life the day I realized that I do not have to compete with others, I do not have to keep up with the Joneses, I do not have to compare myself to others.  Only God can judge me.

We have all met insecure people who gossip, use put downs and call names.  The way to defend against this is to simple have humility.  When our children realize that all humans have equal value and when they do not esteem themselves over others, they do not worry about exerting their superiority over others or worry about a bully or an insecure persons comments. 

Humility also teaches discipline, self restraint and that we are all on a team working for the greater good.  It teaches them to look outward and that they are not the only ones who count.

So how do we model humility? 

Start now, make a list of family priorities.  What do we value the most?  Faith, Love, Relationships, Feelings? 

Humility is woven into our families rules.   

Remember that humility is to be modeled not spoken,  Look daily for ways to demonstrate humility and we will see that our children will be healthier, stronger, more secure and they will know that their self worth comes from being God's children. 

Here's a quote that I love and modified slightly.  In the future you will see this on a Legacy Dad T-shirt.

"It's not where you're from, it's where you're going."
"It's not what you drive, it's what drives you."
"It's not what's on you, it's what's in you."
"It's not what you get, It's what you give back."