Humility is a much appreciated and a much-needed virtue in today’s world. It is one of the most admirable personality traits. A person is said to be humble when he is modest, has an unassuming attitude without any hint of arrogance or pride. A person who possesses great power but is still humble will always be well-regarded and valued. Parents may like to cultivate this quality in their kid right from childhood. Your kid should be humble of his achievements even when they seem remarkable.
Why Encourage Humility in Children?
Some of the reasons parents may want to boost humility in children can be:
- Teaching children humility can help them to see situations in proper perspective that may promote an appropriate measure of self-confidence.
- Being humble may ensure that your child is courteous and respectful to other people.
- Humility may train your child to listen to others as he will learn to place others before himself.
- It may also facilitate his desire for learning from others thereby warranting his personal and intellectual growth.
- Cultivating humility in kids can assist in keeping their egos in check which may easily get inflated in today’s digital world where bragging is usually the norm.
- It may foster their openness to new ideas, inquisitiveness, creativity thus allowing them to explore the world around them.
- A humble child may have better interactions with people which can help in building healthy and lasting social relationships.
- Inspiring humility in children may also inculcate a feeling of gratitude in them. They may learn to value and be grateful for all that they have.
- Promoting humility in kids may motivate them to become good human beings always ready to offer a helping hand to others.
- Humble children are generally happier beings safe in the knowledge that they are well liked and self-assured in their knowledge and abilities.
How to Teach a Child to be Humble?
Most parents may ask how to explain humility to a child. To put it simply humility is the ability by which you consider others before yourself. It’s not about thinking yourself less but thinking less about yourself. Few simple ways of teaching children humility can be:
1. Model Behaviour
Children may learn better when parents teach through personal example. Also, it must be modelled consistently as a lifestyle rather than an on and off example. Children tend to notice everything. They may take note of when you lose your temper in traffic, treat someone badly or use your position of power to yield results in your favour. They also observe the times when you hold a door open for an elderly woman, act respectfully towards others, speak kindly to people. Therefore, as parents, you may like to be mindful of your behaviour. Humility begins at home with the parents.
2. Build Them Up
Try and highlight what is being done instead of what gets done or what you have. Considering and accepting that you may not always receive credit for your actions is part of learning to be humble. For example, saying “Dinner is ready and the kids helped a lot” is better than acclaiming all the glory by saying “I cooked the dinner”. This way you teach kids to place others before yourself. You can also stir humility by participating in as many helpful activities as you can like cleaning a park, volunteering at hospitals, picking trash at public places. Your child may learn that serving others is not a weakness but an honourable trait.
3. Encourage Kids to Admit Mistakes
Children may indoctrinate humility if they learn to admit to their mistakes. The ability to claim responsibility for your mistakes is an important part of integrity. Parents must encourage kids to apologise for their mistakes and learn from them thereby curbing their instinct to justify and defend themselves. One way to promote confession for wrongdoing can be by displaying mercy and forgiveness. Children who feel comfortable approaching parents and talking freely without fear are less expected to be defensive and dishonest.
4. Promote Understanding of Other’s Perspective
Help your child realise that every person he is likely to meet may know something that he doesn’t and thus he can learn from them. Also, whenever your child gets into a difference with a friend ask him to consider and reflect upon the reasons why his friend may be upset and could he have handled the situation better. Learning to show consideration and paying attention to other people’s thoughts and ideas may help to inculcate humility.
5. Discourage the Attitude of Entitlement
Most parents in their longing to advance their kid’s self-esteem continually tell him how smart, amazing and special he is. This seemingly positive approach to parenting can at times develop an attitude of entitlement and arrogance in kids. Children may start believing that they have a special right to certain advantages in life like to win, good grades, to acquire more materialistic stuff, to lead an easy life. They may not take too kindly to disappointments or that occasional failure. Therefore parents must take care to nurture confidence but not overconfidence.
6. Foster Appreciation Towards Life
Motivate your child to acknowledge the efforts of other people. For example, make it a point to attend other’s sporting matches, musical or family events. He may learn to give greater value to personal relations than to accomplishments or events. You can guide your kid to show appreciation in simple ways like with a hug or a thank you. Talk to him regarding the value of supporting and cheering others. For example, if his cousin scores well in class ask your child to write a congratulatory email. He may realise the significance of celebrating other’s achievements. By demonstrating the worth of celebrating other’s successes your child can learn humility.
7. Willingness to Control Pride
Pride normally demands to be heard and seen. On the other hand, a humble kid may know that he is important irrespective of whether he is seen or heard. This sense of self may propel him to indulge in acts of service which can have various forms. For example, service to others can be de-escalating an argument, including someone in a game, allowing someone to go ahead in a queue, ready to share the limelight with a good friend. Humility may allow us to behave in a way that not only holds our dignity but also let us celebrate other’s dignity.
8. Expand Sense of Self
Parents while impressing upon their children that they are valuable and gifted may also like to highlight the importance of using the gifts in the service of others and not merely for themselves. This quality can help enlarge your kid’s sense of self and his view of the world. Parents can form a principle of service to other people by sponsoring a child’s education, supporting a charity, which may help your kid to expand his vision to include others and take in more.
9. Expose Kids to Great Stories
Encourage your kids to read about great personalities like Mother Teresa who spend their lives in the service of humanity. You can also steer them to watch movies based on their lives and struggles.
10. Give Praise/Correction When Required
Make sure you commend your child when he does well like scoring good marks. In case he gets fewer marks, helps him to understand how he may improve rather than blaming the teacher or school. Be prompt to correct serious errors or wrong attitude like tendency to brag but without damaging his self-respect. Refrain from humiliating or bullying your child.
Parents should appreciate and be proud of their kids for acting humbly. Marking the instance may spur on similar good deeds in the future. It also conveys the message that treating people with dignity is valued and desirable.