If you’re assuming that this is some type of ‘stand her on the side of the road with a sign saying she has been naughty to her parents’ ploy, you’d be wrong. Look, I was a teacher. I’m aware of how absent the character trait of humility is today. In a world that’s inundated with ‘i’ this and ‘i’ that, it’s a wonder there are still organizations and people who give back to others.
What is humility though? Why does it feel like it’s an absent trait? How can we make sure, as parents, that we’re instilling this trait into our children?
I like the “shoot ’em straight” version of things, so I especially appreciate the Learner’s Dictionary definition of humility:
The quality or state of not thinking you are better than than other people.
But how do we get our children to understand what true humility is?
Pat Williams, motivational speaker and Vice President of NBA’s Orlando Magic suggests five strategies for teaching your child humility (if you want to read more about these, you can go here:
- Teach them to be servants, after all, there is no such thing as an arrogant one
- Encourage them to admit their mistakes and don’t be afraid to admit your own
- Raise a team player – Teach them to be sensitive of others and understand how everyone in the home works together
- Encourage mature responses to accomplishments – only small-minded people participate in putting others down, only to acknowledge their own achievements in a way that tells others that they feel they are superior
- Instill a teachable spirit – No matter how knowledgable they become at something, they can still improve
And I’m going to add a 6th strategy and what I consider to be the most important: the all encompassing MODELING strategy.
6. Be a model – If we expect our children to exhibit the trait of humility, we must be an example for them.
So back to making my teenager stand on the side of the road with a sign saying she’s been naughty..
So I don’t know about you, but I’m not afraid to share that there are times when I find it difficult to admit my mistakes to my children. It’s much easier to admit them to you because you’re a parent too and we all know there’s no book on How to Raise Billy Smith or Ten Steps for Making Sure Susie Simple Grows Up To Be Responsible. There’s just no book on how to raise your child because everyone has a different set of circumstances, different personalities, etc. I think it’s natural for a parent to want their child to look at them as if they have the wisest answers; that if they would just come to us, we would be able to provide the magic solution to their problems. We don’t want them to be on to us that we may not have the answer or that sometimes, we screw things up too.
But it’s important…and I’m working on it.
So I was reflecting on this whole subject of humility and my desire for wanting to make sure my children don’t miss out on the joy of living a life of thinking of others.
When you don’t have a Spring Break vacation planned, either you’re going to have a long list of chores for your child to do while you’re at work, or they’re going to sit around watching mindless television, staring at their ‘i’ this and ‘i’ that, practicing their best selfie smile.
Instead, I decided to dub Spring Break: Project Humble.
What the heck is that? Well, you’ll have to stay tuned. Check back for my Project Humble Itinerary: A Week-Long Adventure in Giving Back.
My focus for the week? Modeling..not because it’s all about me, me, me..but that by doing so, it makes her better; better able to see others instead of staring at her best selfie smile.
Happy Thursday to you!