In today’s social climate, humility is one of the most appreciated traits and virtues for a child to have—not only because it’s useful for them at their age, but also because it will continue to serve them for the rest of their lives.
A humble person is modest, without arrogance or pride in the things that they do or how they behave.
Humility is an important value to cultivate beginning in childhood so it can continue to grow with the child as they go through the different stages of life.
Why Encourage Humility?
Humility is the key for long-term happiness because it supports relationships and helps a child see the world through a lens that is not prideful. A few other reasons to boost humility in your children are the following:
- Humility helps kids see situations from different perspectives, and this acts as a measure of self-confidence for the child.
- A humble child is courteous and respectful to other people, no matter that person’s age or status.
- Humility teaches a child to put others before themselves and place importance on listening to the ideas and perspectives of other people.
- Being humble encourages the love of learning, which then encourages personal and intellectual growth.
- Humility helps to keep an ego in check—no matter the age. But learning humility at a young age may help to control the ego in a world where it’s constantly being inflated due to the culture of bragging and showing off.
- Humility fosters the concept of being open to new ideas and being curious in regard to creativity, and this helps a child to explore the world around them.
- A humble child is a child that creates loving and lasting relationships, which will be an asset all throughout adulthood. Relationships built on humility are ones that last a lifetime.
- Humility helps children feel grateful for what they have.
- Humble children are always willing to lend a hand to others.
- Humble children are happier in general, because they are secure in knowing that they are well liked, as well as being secure in their abilities and education. They don’t have to depend on outside sources for confidence.
How to Teach Humility
Humility does not mean thinking that you’re less than other people. Instead, it’s centered around placing others before yourself. Many parents and educators wonder how exactly to teach humility, and here are some pointers:
Children learn by observing. By constantly modeling humility in your everyday life, your child will learn those actions through you. They notice everything, so be mindful of your behavior. Humility starts at home.
Instead of placing emphasis on the material items that your family possesses, place that emphasis on the actions that you take in life. Also, mention that you might not always get recognition or credit for carrying out noble duties, as these types of duties are simply how one should move through life. You can place weight on actions by taking your kids with you to volunteer or help out the community, and build them up before yourself—making sure to point out how much work they put into whatever activity you may be doing. This will teach them to do the same.
Encourage Them to Own Up to Mistakes
Mistakes aren’t a bad thing. They happen all the time, and this is something that children must get familiar with. By teaching children to admit their mistakes, you’re teaching them to incorporate humility into their everyday life.
Step into Someone Else’s Shoes
Help your child understand that whoever they meet will know something that they don’t, and that everyone in the world has something unique to offer. With every new person comes a learning opportunity. Paying attention to other people’s perspectives helps teach humility.
Constant positive reinforcement for actions that don’t necessarily warrant it can create a sense of entitlement in children. Someone who’s always being told how perfect and amazing they are will start to believe that they deserve more than others. It’s important to create confidence in a child, but not let it turn into overconfidence.
It’s important for children to acknowledge other people’s efforts. This helps to cultivate personal relationships that are meaningful instead of just surface-level. Supporting and encouraging others helps to teach a child humility because, once again, they are putting others before themselves by celebrating another person.
A humble child knows that they are important without it being shouted from the rooftops. Controlling pride creates a strong sense of self, and a strong sense of self in a humble child will create someone who can de-escalate an argument, include others, or allow someone to cut in line. Humility allows children to acknowledge another person’s dignity, not just their own.
History is a huge part of humility. Teaching children about historical figures who were known for their humility—like St. Vincent De Paul and Mother Teresa—is interesting and shows that humble people have an impact on the world.
Give Praise or Correction When Necessary
When a child deserves praise, such as when they do well in school or pass a milestone that they’ve been working toward, they deserve praise. When they need correction, instead of chastising them to do better, help them understand how they can improve.
It should give a parent great joy to witness their child being humble, and these instances should be acknowledged so the child will be encouraged to continue. This places value on treating others with dignity and respect.
A humble life is a life that’s fulfilled from the inside rather than from outside forces—and this will create long-term, lasting happiness.