Building Character

Teaching Humility to Your Kids

I am amazing
At being truly humble
You would be amazed
– Ironic Humility Haiku

Is it humble to try to teach humility? Probably not. Nevertheless, here goes. 🙂 â€‹

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Christ had a special esteem for the weak and lowly. Jesus welcomed children saying, “Allow the  little children, and don’t forbid them to come to me; for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to ones like these” (Matthew 19:14). He drew attention to the humility of children. “In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?’ Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the middle of them, and said, ‘Most certainly I tell you, unless you  turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into  the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven’” (Matthew 18:1-4). Jesus specifically taught us not to devalue or judge children, saying, “See that you don’t despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). God calls us to esteem  children  as Christ did, to value them as a good gift from God. “Behold, children are a heritage of Yahweh. The fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3). If we are humble towards children, they will learn humility by our example.

 

Teaching humility is difficult. The most impactful way is to be an example. Be a student of your child. Be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). Direct your attention and theirs on being curious about and attentive to God and others. Teach them that every gift is from God and meant to be used to serve and honor others (I Peter 4:10). Boast in your weaknesses, confess your faults, and redirect personal glory towards God. Never humiliate your children, but help them navigate humiliation as an opportunity to challenge hidden pride and grow (Proverbs 11:2). Steer clear of competition and comparison. Direct their attention to the things of awe which point to the Creator. Recognize their efforts, but give God the praise for their qualities.​

Scripture encourages humility. In Romans 12:3 Paul says, “For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.” And  in   Philippians   Paul   says,   “Do   nothing   out   of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3, HCSB). In I Corinthians 1, he points out that God chooses the weak and the lowly, to put to shame the things that are strong. And Paul lived in humility. “I will most  gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, HCSB).

Jesus is the ultimate example of humility. “Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Christ-like humility means submitting to God and what He says about you – over your own or anyone else’s opinions about yourself. When your confidence is in Christ alone, you are free to focus on others, treating them with elevated regard, honoring and serving them. In addition, humility is the virtue that begets all other good virtues.  As St. Augustine said, “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”

– edited excerpt from Parenting in Christ: Treasures For Parenting From Jesus

Going Deeper:
Listen or watch the sermon, “In Praise of Humility” from November 9, 2014 by Lead Pastor Rankin Wilbourne of Pacific Crossroads Church.

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Christina Dronen

Christian mom who practices gentle parenting. Author of the Parenting In Christ Bible study discussion guides.

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6 Comments

  1. Marcie Cramsey says:

    I agree, “the best way to learn humility is to be a student of your child.” While children are born with a sinful nature, initially their innocence seems so untainted by the selfishness of this world. The catch is, what are they learning from us as they grow? While not perfect, let’s hope we are striving to teach them by our example how to have the mind and behavior of Christ. Great post!

  2. Brittany says:

    I love how the Bible uses examples of children, and thanks for this amazing reminder about how we are simply vessels. Christ needs to be seen above all else, and we need to become less. This is great đź’•

  3. Annie says:

    I think that’s my biggest parenting takeaway so far – how much about Christ I learn by watching my children. It’s humbling and such a reminder of Jesus’ words. And I totally agree – teaching by example is so effective!

  4. Emily | To Unearth says:

    I love your point about teaching humility as a way to learn humility. It’s amazing how much we learn when we teach! And it can be hard to try to figure out ways to be humble throughout our day, so realizing we need to set an example and teach humility to others is a great way to approach that!

  5. Melinda Viergever Inman says:

    “For when I am weak, then I am strong” Beautiful words about humility. When we grasp this, at last, it changes everything! Jesus and Paul modeled it for us. May we all grow in humility as we walk in their steps! Thank you for sharing these insights!

  6. Melissa Henderson says:

    Life would be much nicer if we all practiced humility. 🙂

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