My world does not revolve around you alone, and it is time I teach you this lesson. Mom makes food to fill our bellies, and sometimes that means foods mom or dad like, not just you. Your brother or sister may want to watch a movie every once in a while, a movie they chose, not you, and you can watch it with them, but you don’t get to complain about not liking the film. In this family we share our time, our love, our favorite things, our clothes, our knowledge, our skills, and so on. We are a team. We give you plenty of moments to make decisions which involve the rest of the family, we get to do things you want quite a bit. It is time to allow someone else a choice in the matter.
I’ve been thinking on this awhile, in fact I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the course of figuring this out for our family. My husband told me I seem mad at my oldest all the time. I’m not, but I am disappointed when she puts herself ahead of everyone else in the room, especially when she used to be much more selfless.
I see the lack of humility on the playgrounds at nearby parks, I hear it on our way to drop the kids off at school, camps, or lessons. It isn’t just one group of people, it is all around us. Other parents probably see it in my children. Children are not born instinctively with humbleness. It seems strange to say, but it sometimes feels I’m the only one in the world who wants my child to be humble. I know that’s not the case, but I’ve seen husbands and extended families who are not on board with teaching humility (and other related values) straight out of the gate. I just can’t grasp the idea of seeing my child meet each milestone early, knowing all her ABC’s before entering preschool, or even considering what needs to be done to make them successful as adults until I’ve taught each child some basic Christian Characteristics. Which is hardest to learn? Should I be focused on academics before they turn seven, or should I focus on teaching them how to be loving human beings in this world?
How to teach your child the art of humility.
- We are all on the same team. In our family unit, when there are many members young and close together, it can be exhausting running around putting out fires all day long. In our house it is extreme because each one of my kiddos has their own unique personality, and two (sometimes three) of these little blessings is struggling to communicate. My children need to be taught sensitivity to the feelings of their brothers and sisters. They should be working towards the ability to consider other people’s feelings and needs.
It takes patience on the parents’ part, but hard work done in the beginning will pay off in the end. Practice recognizing how everyone helps out, how everyone works as a team. Tell your child how thankful you are they listened and put their dishes at the sink. Tell your child how helpful it was that they fetched the diaper and wipes for you so you didn’t have to get up. Let them know when they help out a younger child, it puts a smile on your face to see them acting as Jesus would have. Then go a step further. Talk with them about how they can help outside your home. Do they know someone who is hurting or sad? Ask them how they can make someone happy or bring out the good in those around them.
- We all have things we need to work on. A person/child must understand they will make mistakes, and sometimes make the same mistakes more than once. Our children need to take criticism from us and from others. The key to facing criticism is listening instead of defending yourself. Wowzers! I need to work on that as well.
As a loving parent we all need to strive for a merciful heart. Just as God is merciful to us when we confess our sins, we need to be merciful to our children. Allow them to tell you what happened and what went wrong without the fear of your wrath coming down at them. Stay calm and model the love of Christ, and perhaps the hardest part of this, know it is okay to admit your own mistake and ask your child for forgiveness as well.
- Enjoy a job well done. Lately, I’ve been correcting our children from saying, “I win! I win! I win!” to saying, “We did it!”, “We were fast.” or something less arrogant. I want my kids to excel in all areas of their life without a doubt, but part of humility is not rubbing someone’s nose in their loss, and recognizing other team players’ or opponents’ achievements as well as their own. Don’t allow your child to see themselves as superior, or look down on anyone.
It is okay for your child to enjoy the warm feeling that comes with accomplishing something difficult, earning the highest marks, or wining at sports. Don’t take that feeling from them, because they’ve put in the hard work to earn it. These are teachable moments though. Teach your child to give thanks to God for their talents. Teach them that through God’s grace, they’ve been given the ability to achieve.
What are your thoughts? Am I wrong?