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Instil humility as a virtue in children

We all have children that can grow with a hyper character or attitude. They think they should be above everything and everyone at whatever cost.

Such a mindset is even in adults. They don’t regard others as worthy of their value. It becomes worse when such people are well off one way or the other.

They like to elevate themselves to a standard that is above and outrageous. Most of them have less to care about others. If they happen to get through with what they need, others don’t matter. Eventually, pride and arrogance are the products of such behaviour.

We can teach our children to be genuinely humble. It is one of the character traits that one needs every time everywhere. One scholar wrote that humility means being willing to learn. To be humble is to be curious about others. Humble people listen because they know they don’t know everything. To be humble is to always remember that God is bigger, smarter, and more powerful.

Humility can be teachable to our children. They can also learn from what we model as parents or from other people. Situations and the environment can also teach us to be humble. And when we learn to be humble, we learn to handle life with ease; even hard circumstances don’t shake us because we are people of all seasons.

Humility teaches us to be servants, and this inculcates the spirit of servant leadership in children. They recognize the value of serving others beyond self. Children need to know that there is a point when you need to put other people first.

The Bible tells us: “don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Humility will help your children to overcome the attitude of envy and jealousy, wishing bad for others, or desiring what others have that is not in them or in your family. Instead, it grooms them to develop a heart of love, compassion and kindness.

Let your children learn how to honour others as Romans 12:10 teaches us “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.”

They get to understand that we are all human beings and, therefore, they treat everyone with high regard, courtesy and respect regardless of age and status. Humility helps them to value themselves and others in reverence to God, paying attention to details and listening to the ideas and perspectives of other people. They become able to understand that others can build them. Therefore, they need people; family, friends, and the community. They cannot live in isolation.

Avoiding bragging and showing off that don’t yield to anything is important. The downfall of any man is in his pride but a humble spirit elevates you to another level (James 4:6). And this discourages the attitude of entitlement.

Let the children know that they shouldn’t do things to impress others. This will make them disappointed when they fail to achieve what they expected from them. Let them be willing to shine and it does not cause any harm to go unnoticed where necessary.

Self-control is part of humility. This comes at a point where one needs to restrain him/herself from a rush spirit. There is a saying that you rush and crush. Life is so interesting that we all like to do things in haste. However, humility confines you from such. Even the way we talk and use our tongues is important. Self-control leads to patience and maturity.

Inspire them to admit mistakes and failures. If they fall short of what they were intending to achieve, it is not the end of the world. If they do wrong things, let them learn to accept them and it makes them accountable.

The ability to admit mistakes or any wrong thing is a key component of integrity. Let them appreciate knowing that to err is human and it is better to welcome criticism positively. It encourages personal and intellectual growth because humble people are teachable and always yearn to learn from others. They know that they don’t own it all and, therefore, they need to acquire more knowledge and skills from others.

The writer is a child advocate, parenting coach, marriage counsellor, and founder – Men of Purpose Mentorship Programme

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