I think instilling humility in my children has probably been the hardest part of raising them. So far. Mostly because aside from modeling it, you can't really teach it. As a parent one hopes that your child will see that the act of being humble isn't a sign of weakness but rather a sign of maturity. Now, I get, we expect our children to mature slowly...they just don't wake up and BAM, they're mature. But, if you model a behavior correctly, you should see progress and a lack of progress should be a red flag. It was for me.
As I look back on my own "modeling" behavior, I can readily admit to a degree of arrogance. However, I have ALWAYS accepted responsibility for my shortcomings and errors and owned them. I've apologized when needed and attempted to "fix" things I've broken. I get that it isn't always possible, sometimes things are broken beyond repair. But you have to make an effort even if you know it's just a token.
What, you may be asking, brought this on? Well, my son is filling out college applications. Applications that require an essay. I threw out the suggestion that instead of writing about what he is, perhaps he should write about what he isn't and left it at that.
His essay:Since I was old enough to talk and understand things and why they happened, my parents have been trying to drill into my character and install virtues that they thought seemed necessary. I had no trouble with most of these virtues throughout my childhood, except one. Instead of being like every other applicant who boasts of what they are and what they have accomplished, I am going to try to be as humble as possible, which was actually the biggest issue of my character as a small child through my early teen years. Growing up, if I did something wrong I never wanted to admit that I had made a mistake. I would come up with excuses or push it off on someone else, but I almost never humbled myself. The past few years have opened my eyes as I see my friends humble themselves with their parents, and my own parents humble themselves in front of each other and in front of me and my siblings. I believe that the past few years of my life I have used the responsibility my parents have given me pretty well, and turned around my anti-humble streak. To prove that, instead of writing about what I am in a college application essay, I wrote about what I was not, but now I am. I think Purdue will do the same thing my parents did for me just in a different way. It will take my character, drill in life experiences, advanced education, and very important morals and values, and in 4 to 6 years will spit out a new young man ready to take on life.
I think I can put away my red flags.