It’s rather silly that any mother would attempt to teach her children humility without recognizing the obstacles of her own struggle (or lack thereof) with humility and pride. So as I consider helping my children develop a sense of humility, out of necessity, I’m considering the same things in my own life. I suspect that’s exactly what God intends us to do as we teach our children.
Awhile back we noticed one child who habitually says “I know” when given instruction or information. It’s abrasive, not only for family members, but also for others who come in contact with our family. It sounds prideful. After being annoyed and embarrassed by his response a number of times, I realized that his words were habitual, and he probably wasn’t even aware of what he was saying.
“When you say ‘I know,’ did you know that?”
After a second, he acknowledged with a smile that he hadn’t.
“I’ve noticed that you often say, ‘I know’ after you are given instruction or information.
If you didn’t know if before you were told, a better answer is, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that.'”
We talked for a few more seconds about humility and being teachable. How our words reflect and shape what is in our hearts. I try really hard not to make a strong connection between what people think of us and our words (i.e., what people think of you when you say this), simply because it’s not the most important reason to humble ourselves.
He’s working on it. I’ve heard him correct himself, and if he forgets, we just ask, “Did you really already know that?”
[And yes, sometime later we’ll work on the prideful need to inform the other person that we DID know that bit of information already. And now I’m asking myself, is this paragraph exactly what I’m talking about? How do I say “I know” in more adult-subtle ways?]
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. James 4:6