There is nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment we feel when we achieve a difficult goal. Whether we’ve learned to tie our shoes, solve an algebraic equation, or shed those last stubborn pounds, we are elated at completing our task. When we acknowledge that our achievement involves the investment of others in our lives, we display the trait of humility.
Without parents, teachers, friends, coaches, or mentors, even the most gifted and intelligent among us could not complete a simple task. Nobel Prize winners couldn’t have done their research without the teachers who taught them to add and subtract, read and write. Humility reminds us to pause and remember all those who have contributed to our success.
Humility also means being willing to take responsibility for our mistakes. None of us gets it right all the time. Being able to admit an error is the true mark of wisdom.
Though this gangly bird plays an important role in our ecosystem, it’s easy to overlook the turkey vulture. The bald, awkward birds are not attractive and lack the noble grace of an eagle and the splendor of a peacock. By devouring the remains of dead animals, turkey vultures stop the spread of disease and keep the forests and fields free from decaying carcasses. Turkey vultures are found in open and semi-open areas throughout the Americas, from Canada to South America. Their excellent eyesight and strong sense of smell allow them to locate their meals while flying.
- Praise my parents, teachers, teammates, and coaches.
- Not think more highly of myself than I ought.
- Take responsibility for all my actions.
- Try again after each defeat.
- Give credit to those who have made me successful.
Children are learning character lessons from the adults in their lives all the time. As a self test to see if you are modeling the trait of humility, think about how often you use the phrase, “You are right.” Do you acknowledge others for the contributions they make? Your family, co-workers, and employees will all appreciate your efforts to become humble. Being proud of an accomplishment builds confidence, but without the balance of humility, pride can become arrogance, which blinds us to the talents of others and causes us to selfishly focus upon ourselves.
Using teamwork to accomplish a goal requires many character traits, including patience and humility. The next time your family is working on a project, acknowledge the participation of everyone involved and encourage all to do the same.
Learn About Humility
Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness by Andrew Murray was written more than a century ago, but its spiritual message still resonates with readers today. Only by humbling ourselves can we become open to a higher power in our lives.
Young readers will enjoy The Tower: A Story of Humility by Richard Paul Evans. This book by the author of The Christmas Box has a simple theme, “to be great is not to be higher than another, but to lift another higher.”