What’s one thing that every relationship needs? Humility. Many people think that humility mostly has to do with how you think about yourself. It doesn’t. You’re not going to be more humble by focusing on yourself. Humility has more to do with how you think of others. Humility doesn’t mean that we think less of ourselves; it just means that we think about ourselves less and others more. Furthermore, humility doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer. It means you know exactly what you have to offer, and no more. In his book Traveling Light, author Max Lucado gives three tips on cultivating humility.
- First, assess yourself honestly. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of your importance.
- Second, don’t take “success” too seriously. If you do, your downfall may be just around the corner.
- Third, celebrate the significance of others, because they helped you achieve your success in the first place.
Tony Dungy, a man of great humility, shared with me that “being a humble parent means you put your children’s interests first. When kids see that, they’re going to be drawn to you as a parent and will follow your lead. You may not have anything else to give them, but if you show that humility, that you really care about them, that’s going to make an impact far more than a parent who just gives them all kinds of material things.”
Do your children keep you humble? Mine do. I was dropping my daughter Emily off at school and then going to speak to a group of men about being better dads. On the way, my daughter said, “Dad, why do you teach men to be better fathers when you haven’t mastered it yet?” That hurt, but it was a good question that I wanted to answer. So I said, “I want to share with the men the mistakes I’ve made and the things I’ve learned as a father over the years.”
Humility is at the very core of any thriving relationship, including your relationship with your child. Why? Simply put, if selfishness is not the opposite of humility, it’s pretty close. Selfishness destroys relationships. Humility develops relationships.
Are you teaching your children to be humble? Admitting when you’re wrong and apologizing to your children is one way to model humility. I’ve had to ask my kids for forgiveness on many occasions. One time, I was watching an action thriller with my young teenage son. It was kind of scary and had a few off-color words. I was so glued to the flick that I didn’t even think how it would affect my son. Emily, my daughter who rules my conscience, walked in the door, took one look at the television, and said, “Uh, Dad, do you really think you should be watching this?” Well, the answer was obvious. I turned off the movie, apologized to my son for not showing more leadership, and found a more productive activity to do with my son. I’m still learning how to be a better parent, and my kids are doing a great job helping me.
How do you model humility in your relationships?
Portions of this blog came from my book, All Pro Dad: Seven Essentials to Be a Hero to Your Kids.