I would love some Biblical parenting tips on how to talk to my kids about being humble.
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Humility is a personal quality in which an individual shows dependence on God and respect for other persons. The only humility that is really ours is that which we carry with us, and carry out in our ordinary conduct, such as helping our neighbors. "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but everyone who humbles himself shall be exalted"(Luke 14:11); again "God opposes the arrogant, but to the humble He gives grace"(1 Peter 5:6; James 4:6). According to Psalm 51:17' God does not desire outward sacrifices but a humble spirit which shows itself in several ways: (a) recognition of one's sinfulness before a Holy God. (Is.6:5); (b) Obedience to God (Duet.8:2); (c) Submission to God (2 Kings 2:19). In the Old Testament the following blessings are promised to those who were humble; Wisdom (Prov.11:2); Honor (Prov.15:33);; Good tidings (Is.61:1). As 1 Kings 21:9 and 2 Kings 22:19 tells us, the experience on many kings indicated that those who humbled themselves before God will be exalted. This is reiterated in 2 Ch. 33:23 which says that those who did not humble themselves before God will be afflicted. In the New Testament, Jesus" life is the best example of what it means to have humility or to be humbled. (Matt. 11:29;! Cor. 4:21) and He urged those who desired to live by kingdom standards to practice humility (Matt. 18:1). Humility is closely connected with " meekness" (Matt. 5:5). God will exalt those who are humble and bring low those who are proud (Luke 1:52) Humility before God is misrepresented if you if you are not humble in the same manner before man. It is in our relationship with one another and in our treatment of one another that the heart of humility can be see. The humble man seeks at all times to serve others, does not see himself as better than others, shows love to all mankind, is caring and sharing, and is not selfish. The humble man is not jealous or envious and can gladly and freely praise God even when others are blessed and preferred before him. Above all he shows humility when he can lose himself and find it in God. David said he humbled his soul with fasting and prayer (Psalm 35:13), we therefore should do likewise.
The Bible has several positive things to say about humility. It also has an even greater number of verses that are critical of humility's opposite, pride. There are multiple online Bible concordances (such as at the following link: http://www.biblestudytools.com/concordances) where those terms can be searched. (From an adult standpoint, you might also be interested in Christian author C. S. Lewis' thoughts about pride at the following link: http://www.timesandseasons.org/The_Great_Sin_condensed.pdf.) Perhaps the best way to approach the subject with a child or young person would be to focus on the adverse effects of lack of humility on a person's popularity, or his ability to get along or work productively with others (including members of the opposite sex, if the child is old enough for that to matter). Young people usually want a circle of friends. But, even in childhood, no one likes a braggart, or someone who thinks that they are better or more important than others (and who also makes a point of assuring that other people know it). That is not to say that children cannot take pleasure in their strengths or their accomplishments. But their focus should not always be on themselves. They need to learn to empathize with others, and to recognize, acknowledge, and share in those people's feelings and achievements. Of course, children can't always be expected to display mature behaviors and attitudes that may come only with the passing of time and learning from actual experience. But one of the best ways for parents to influence them is to make sure that (as much as possible) the parents themselves are consistently modeling and practicing the kinds of attitudes and behaviors (including their relationship to God) that they want their children to develop. (As Solomon said in Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.") That is not to say that there may not be tough times or rough patches along the way that require persistence and perseverance, but the rewards are among the greatest that life offers.
I believe both Tim and Doreen gave excellent answers but I want to add just a little. The best way for a child to learn humbleness is for the child to see that quality in the parents. If Dad and Mom exhibit humility before the Lord and his Word it will be reflected in their lives. This will be a kids best teacher. Being old school I'm sure some of you more modern parents will disagree but I firmly believe the first thing any child needs to learn is obedience. I become downright frustrated and sometimes angered when I see a grown woman negotiating in public with a screaming 2-year old. More times than not the kid wins. Let's face it, a child has very limited reasoning ability and is driven by personal desire and emotion. (Psalms 58:3) We do not want to break his spirit but lovingly break his will which often has to be administered through tough love. Very simply NO means NO, Stop means Stop. Although to the child your decision makes no sense whatsoever and he tee-totally disagrees, the child needs to learn humble submission to the "word" of his parents. A well known pastor, writer, lecturer told his personal experience which happened years earlier as he and his wife were walking in the neighborhood with their young son. As they walked together the little guy would sometimes venture out front, walking ahead of mom and dad. One day they were on a stroll and as they were nearing an intersection the little boy started to run. The lot on the corner of that intersection had a hedge which was higher than the height of the little boy. The father started to call out to the boy to stop, come back, but after desperation set in he began to scream at the top of his lungs for him to STOP! The kid never slowed a bit and just as he ran across the intersection to the other side, a fast moving car sped by. You see, the kid was not aware of any danger. He had no idea or concern with what was approaching from behind that hedge but dad sure did! Had he been responsive and obedient to simple voice commands mom and dad's "near heart attack" could have been avoided. Instances will arise in our lives when there is no time for reasoning or negotiating. As in the instance above, some day your child's life may depend upon how humble he is. A child that is humbly sensitive and responsive to the spoken instruction of the parents would also be more apt to listen and obey in the future when he hears the Holy Spirit speak. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
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