Fatherhood in the 21st Century :
4 Ways to Teach Our Kids the Importance of Humility
In our day and time it appears that many kids are being taught the importance of being seen and collecting followers rather than finding ways to help others. Our popular culture is ruled by narcissists who are addicted to social media, selfies, and slap dash one-upmanship. This sets the tone and expectation that fame and fortune are the only things our kids need to strive for rather than on service to others. This is a truly depressing and regressive view of what is important…
But we can train our children to be different. We can teach our children not to be selfish and supercilious. We can train them to derive satisfaction from helping others thrive while being perfectly content to not receive ALL the credit. We can teach them to discard the fleeting nature of hashtag trends and embrace the eternal principle of determination, perseverance, kindness, and genuineness. Here are 5 ways to teach children humility.
1. Honor those who serve you.
Acknowledge your restaurant server with a smile and polite word of encouragement. Tip generously. Treat the cashier and bagger at the grocery store with kindness even if he or she has made a mistake and has to re-calculate the total or fills the bags too full with groceries. Tip the Uber driver, pizza delivery employee, and leave the quarter in the cart when you shop at Aldi. When your children see that you value those who perform less than glamorous tasks, they will begin to respect others regardless of position and place less value on the station one holds in life.
2. Discuss the value of hard work.
When your children admire someone famous, take time to talk about how much work goes into developing a talent or skill. It can be as simple as, “You know, it takes years of hard work to be able to sing like that or play that way.” Or a question, “Do you think it’s more important to be famous than it is to do the best you can with the gifts you’ve been given?” This will help your children begin to recognize the value of hard work versus cheap fame.
3. Follow through with actions.
When your children show compassion toward those less fortunate, do everything possible within the bounds of age-appropriateness to follow through with an action. If your children bring up the idea of helping the homeless, the elderly, the hungry, animals, etc. call a local shelter or ministry and set up an opportunity to serve. There are also various online resources to utilize that are designed to connect families and individuals with volunteering opportunities (e.g. in my neck of the woods Hands On Charlotte). When kids learn to value others and not the titles behind them they will be more likely to value themselves as well.
4. Love your children for who they are.
Make sure your children know that you love and value them irrespective of whether or not they are talented, popular, A students, athletically gifted, or amazingly beautiful. Tell them so repeatedly, especially after a failure in school, on a sports team, or other disappointment that is small in your world but magnified in theirs. Many who pursue fame or undue recognition do so in an effort to fill a void of perceived unimportance, a sense of being unloved, secluded, or a desire to be acknowledged and validated externally and not from within.
And always remember to tell your child the following each day but especially on their birthday:
- Believe in yourself
- Love yourself
- You were born for special reasons
- Look for ways to help others today
- Your primary purpose is to discover what your unique talents are (that no one else in the world has)
My new book Abandoned to PhD: Integrating meaning and resilience in everyday life has been recently published and if you would like to review and purchase please visit https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001156603
If you would like to learn more about me or my practice Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting, PLLC and have questions feel free to visit my website www.iccounseling.net as well as read my Inner Compass Blog.
Dr. Gerald Brown (Doc Brown) is owner of Inner Compass Counseling, Coaching, and Consulting PLLC in Cornelius, NC and Statesville, NC. He is passionate about fatherhood issues, immigrant concerns, and specializes in trauma work. Doc Brown has presented at various conferences and has a multitude of experience training organizations and corporations in diversity and multicultural resilience. He believes in helping individuals, couples, and families find meaning and integrate that meaning with various resiliencies in order to live purposefully and vibrantly. He is married with two daughters ages 14 and 6.