As we arrive at another Easter day today it seemed pertinent to look at the meaning of humility and the place that this has in our children’s lives today. In a world that seeks to push individuals forward and emphasises ego, where the talk about self-esteem sometimes abounds at all expenses and where so many chose to live in a way that drawer attention to themselves as opposed to honouring others , the state of being humble and the veracity of attempting to live a humble life is often forgotten and lost in translation.
What is Humility
However, true humility not only embraces a genteel, patient and deferent lifestyle that honours all humankind but also relies on a true self-awareness that sees one’s own strengths and weaknesses so that abilities are neither over nor under estimated. In doing so it seeks out a down to earth approach to life that encourages learning and a quest to ask questions, searches out knowledge and critically is open to constructive criticism and helpful feedback without defensiveness or asserting a know it all attitude.
Why is Humility Important
Maybe surprisingly, to some, it is also a quality of effective leadership. One of the most humble leaders in history was Abraham Lincoln celebrated for his ability to master his own ego and remain humble despite his great office. Other great people through history who have been claimed to truly understand humility include Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu to name but a few; all of whom sit amongst the greatest leaders in history and all of whom have left their mark on the world making a significant difference. Most recently on Thursday last week the new pope, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 young detainees replicating the act of humility shown by Jesus of Narazeth the day before his crucifixion at the first Easter.
Humility then has transversed time – it has been our teacher and our saviour, our leader and our servant. To be humble then, is not about hiding our light under a bushel but about using that light to benefit others with selfless intent. Humility recognizes limitations and is happy to take on board feedback with an open heart. It isn’t about being weak but about finding the balance between being tender and strong. It is about trust, forgiveness and gratitude with the will to share authority as well as the limelight always investing in others in a spirit of sincerity without egotistic intent.
How to promote humility
To promote an ethos of humility in our children then does not need to be seen as an ideal that is out of vogue today but rather an attractive option that starts by striving to lead a humble existence ourselves as parents, taking up the mantle to be strong and sure yet with the sole desire to bring out the best in our children and everyone that we meet.
“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”
With best wishes to everyone for a very Happy Easter.