One Thing That Every Relationship Needs


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

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Tad

    I really appreciate the “realness” of this article and will take it to heart when reconciling my own parenting mistakes with my children.  We’ve got a lot of healing to do…   Thanks Mark!

  • Tad, you are so welcome. Hope it helps. 


    Earlier today during a broadcast of the Dan Patrick Show you spoke to the issue of not doing too much FOR your children, thinking that it will make them feel incapable — but I can’t FIND the exact text . . . HELP!!!!

  • It’s tough when our kids get after us and they are right!

    I dropped the “S” word while talking (I was quite upset) with my two teen daughters last year.

    A couple of hours later I noticed one of them was still quite upset. I asked her what the problem was and she told me she couldn’t believe I used a bad word.

    I destroyed any chance of speaking into her life during our talk. That one word was enough for her to miss the entirety of the rest of our conversation.

    That was quite the humbling experience for me.

  • Hey guest, I have not been on the Dan Patrick show but would be pleased to provide you with any info that I can.

  • Mikemasonlc4life

    Mark man reading the All Pro Dad articles have helped me to regain my focus on whats most important in life. I am a minister and I love people and want to point them to God and I would study and do all the things I needed to do to be prepared, but I know in my spirit the Lord was showing me to not lose my zeal and passion for people to keep it but to make sure I don’t lose the family that he made me the head of in the process!  I worried about so many things that should be happening in the church but didn’t pay attention to my wife and kids. Im supposed be an example of how the heavenly father is to us, to be that to my children. Wakeup Call!

  • James, certainly humbling! What did you do after that?

  • Mike, so good to hear about how All Pro Dad has encouraged you. Good to hear that you sense God’s prompting in your life and are convicted by it to action. Way to go!

  • Well, I apologized to a thirteen-year-old!

    That’s just the worst feeling ever.

    “Honey, I’m sorry I used a word you would get in big trouble for using.”

    That hasn’t happened since!

  • hurting

    What do I do when my husband does not model humility? He recently told our 16 year old daughter that he was at a point where he didn’t need teaching from anyone any longer. She has a lot of anger because she sees him passing judgment but he does not acknowledge it and gets hurt when confronted.