WHAT IS HUMILITY?

Humble people are respectful. They do not behave arrogantly, nor do they expect others to treat them as special. Rather, a person with humility takes genuine interest in others and is willing to learn from them.

Sometimes humility is misjudged as a weakness. In reality, it is a strength that helps people recognize their faults and acknowledge their limitations.

WHY IS HUMILITY IMPORTANT?

  • Humility benefits relationships. “Overall, humble people are more connected to others,” says the book The Narcissism Epidemic. It adds that such people find it “easier to relate to other people and the wider world.”

  • Humility benefits your child’s future. Learning to be humble will help your child both now and later in life​—for example, when seeking employment. “The young person with bloated self-esteem, unaware of her own deficiencies, is unlikely to do well in the job interview,” writes Dr. Leonard Sax. “But the young person who is genuinely interested in what the recruiter has to say is more likely to get the job.” *

HOW TO TEACH HUMILITY

Encourage a balanced view of self.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself.”​—Galatians 6:3.

  • Avoid misleading maxims. Sayings like “All your dreams can come true” and “You can be anything that you want to be” might sound inspiring, but they often do not prove true in real life. Your children will likely be more successful if they have reasonable goals and work hard to achieve them.

  • Praise specific actions. Simply telling a child that he or she is “awesome” does not encourage humility. Be specific.

  • Limit your child’s use of social media. Often, social media is linked with self-promotion​—broadcasting a person’s talents and accomplishments—​the very opposite of humility.

  • Encourage your child to apologize quickly. Help your child to see where he is wrong and to acknowledge it.

 Promote gratitude.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “Show yourselves thankful.”​—Colossians 3:15.

  • Gratitude for creation. Children should appreciate nature and how much we depend on it for survival. We need air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. Use these examples to instill appreciation, awe, and gratitude for the wonders of the natural world.

  • Gratitude for people. Remind your child that everyone is superior to him in one way or another and that instead of being jealous of others’ skills and abilities, he can learn from them.

  • Expressing gratitude. Teach your children to say “thank you,” not just with words but with genuine appreciation. A grateful spirit has been called a building block of humility.

Teach your children that there is value in serving others.

BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “With humility consider others superior to you, as you look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.”​—Philippians 2:3, 4.

  • Expect your child to do chores. Exempting your child from family chores might give him the message, ‘You are too important to do this!’ Family duties should come first, and playing second. Point out how chores benefit others and how others will appreciate and respect him for doing them.

  • Emphasize that serving others is a privilege. Doing so is a primary way to develop maturity. Therefore, encourage your child to identify those in need. Discuss with him what he can do to help them. Commend and support your child as he serves others.

^ par. 8 From the book The Collapse of Parenting.