On Parenting and Humility

As parents, it is soooo easy for us to gush over our children. I, myself, am guilty of this. When Yui was born, it was all about how cute this newborn was. And now that she’s growing up, we’re just at awe at how fast she is developing. This blog and even my facebook account can attest to how proud I am of my little girl.

It is no wonder then that she always hear how cute she looks or how smart she is – whenever something awesome like this happens:

Yui's seatwork

Yui’s seatwork

Now that Yui is 3 years old, she gets to understand things more and communicates her feelings articulately. Whoever said that parenting is a walk in the park is surely mistaken. In the example above, Yui was able to complete this seatwork by herself. She wrote her name without help, traced the words and drew those faces. Imagine my feeling when I saw this – it was such a proud moment! So the words “smart”, “cute” and “pretty” are often heard to describe the little girl. It wasn’t long therefore that she got to associate these words with her too.

One night, we were talking outside and she asked what those lines in the posts are. I told her those are electric lines. So she mentioned that maybe those lines power our houses. And I said yes. Then the conversation went on like this:

Yui: “I know. Mommy, I’m smart right?”

Mommy: “Yes, baby. But you should not say that you are smart. You have to just wait for other people to say that. Not you.”

Yui: “But how will they know? If I don’t tell them?”

Mommy: *stumped* (oo nga naman) After a long pause, “Yes, but they will know. Even if you won’t tell them”

So that’s where my dilemma comes in. How do I teach my daughter humility? I’m not even sure if what I said was right. I’m not sure if that’s how you start to introduce the notion of humility to a child. I started to actively research on the subject and got some tips from other mommies online. Some of the most note-worthy “tips” that I read are:

1. Model the behavior. Well, we believe this is true not just on teaching humility but also other character building stuff that we want our child to learn like respect. If she sees us doing it, she will follow. Old school rule. But which sometimes I’m guilty of forgetting. This is something that I should consciously strive to do day in and day out. Who knows, I will not only build my daughter’s character but improve mine as well.

2. Build their skills. However ironic this may sound, they say to be able to teach a child to be humble, she should have something to be humble about. So building our children’s skills is important. She should be able to have self-acceptance and self-confidence.

3. Coach them how to respond. The basic “Please”, “Thank You” and “Sorry”. These are important and very much needed in this generation. We don’t want respect to be phased out, right?

Now this may take a long time to do. It will require us, as parents, to be consistent in doing this. But I know at least we’ve started something. A few days ago, some weeks after the electric lines incident, I was asking her to drink her milk and went:

Mommy: “You should drink your milk, Yui. Just like achi Bea. So you’ll grow strong and smart like her”

Yui: “Okay, mommy. But you said I should not say that”

Well, at least what I told her a few nights back stuck with her. With a child like this, we should really watch what we say so our words will not backfire on us. 😛 One thing’s for sure, this humility stuff is not something that we just put on blackboard and teach line by line to our kids.

Writing on board

It will take time. Patience. And for sure, several teaspoons of sense of humor too! 🙂

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